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An Interview With: Eugenie Bouchard

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Q. How pleased are you with your result today?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I'm happy. Definitely never easy in the first round of a Grand Slam, so happy to get a win under my belt. I want to kind of get on a roll and keep the momentum going.

Q. How would you describe your own style, your own game?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I would say I'm kind of aggressive from the baseline. I try to really take it early and really move up to the ball and try to put pressure on my opponent. I also try to finish the points at the net when I can. I tried doing that today, coming up to the net when I had opportunities, so that's something I try to do.

Q. The poor leadup, your coach said he didn't care about that. Results going into the Australian and Wimbledon weren't great either. Did you have that same mindset?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: In terms of my leadup for the slam? Yes. I got asked about it a few times, and Timmy, I looked back on my year, and I had different leadups to every slam and performed well on every one of them. I don't think there is a magic recipe that if I get to the quarters of a women's event I'll do well at the slam. I think you just take it as it goes. Obviously I would have liked more matches, but that's the way it is sometimes. I feel like I practiced well before, and that was the best I could do at that moment. So, yeah, you know, I still feel very confident with myself and I'm happy with today. I'm excited I just get the opportunity to play another match at the US Open.

Q. What are your thoughts going into this tournament this year as opposed to last year where it was your debut? This year, great results in Grand Slams. How different are you approaching it in terms of having that Grand Slam experience and the confidence you can derive from those tournaments?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, last year was my first professional US Open, quallies or main, and I was in the main. I was just very excited to be on-site in the main locker room, all that stuff. Yeah, going into this one, I mean, I feel like the past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. I don't feel like I'm putting too many high expectations on myself. But, you know, I have the inner confidence that I know if I'm playing as well as I know I can that I can do well. I don't want to set a specific, you know, goal to reach a certain round or anything like that, because every round is so tough here. You know, I always know that I can do well.

Q. You take the ball so early. First of all, how is the knee? Looks like it's pretty good. What does that feel like? Is there wear and tear on your knees taking the ball that early and playing that style of offense?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, movement is definitely important for me because I like to take it so early. I like to be able to react very quickly and get up to the ball as fast as I can to try to take it early and put pressure. So I'm definitely feeling healthier than I have the past few weeks. For about a week now I have been playing pretty good with my knees and hamstring, so I'm happy with that. I took a lot of time off for these injuries, so I think, you know, I feel good on the court. Just maybe not as much practice or matches have gone into it that I wanted. It's like give and take that you have to do for the body, but I'm feeling good now. So I'm happy, and I just want to play more matches.

Q. Being from Montreal, are you a hockey fan?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: A little bit, yeah.

Q. Canadiens?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah (smiling).

Q. You're probably too young to know much about Carling Bassett, but I'm wondering what kind of Canadian tennis influence you have had, if any?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I never had any Canadian tennis influences. I looked up to the best: Steffi Graf, Maria Sharapova. I remember watching Monica Seles playing. Any great champions I looked up to.

Q. What's it like to be on the cover of New York Times magazine, and did you read the article? What did you think?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, it's an honor. It's a big deal, people tell me. So I'm happy with that. It was a lengthy article. I did read it. Yeah, I think it's great. You know, I was excited to see it. All my friends and family saw it. You know, I think it's a good thing.

Q. If you were in charge of the sport and you could change any rule about the way the game is played, adjust a rule, add a rule, anything you like, what change would you like to make?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That's an interesting question. I would allow fans to come in between every game and allow them to be louder and more into it. I think it would be more fun for them, and I think tennis is a sport where maybe the fans are kind of told to be the most quiet and, you know, really obey the rules. So I think it be would just be more fun and appealing to fans if they could get into it if they want to and if they could kind of come in as soon as they want to without waiting for so long. I remember being a fan and having to wait two games. It's tough.

Q. That being the case, do you like this tournament more than any other in that it is about as raucous as certainly a Grand Slam could be in terms of the atmosphere and so forth.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, for sure. It's a different atmosphere than Wimbledon. They are each special in their own way, but the energy coming from the city and from the fans is always so special. I haven't experienced it too much, but today I definitely, you know, felt the fans get really intense, you know. I was hearing some of them, and they're more intense than me almost. I'm like, Okay, calm down. But it's great. That's what you want from fans. So I love it.

Q. In junior tennis tournaments you tend to see a lot of tears as a reaction to losses. I wonder if that was ever a reaction for you, and if so, when did you get over that?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: For sure when you lose tough matches, the toughest ones for me was when I was really close. Maybe if I had chances or even match points and would lose the match, the kind of heartbreak matches I would maybe shed a few tears. I definitely did after the Wimbledon final, so that would probably be the most recent one. You know, it's an emotional game, and, you know, you really want to win. Sometimes that happens.

Q. Talking about the zone, what's the zone to you and were you in it today?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think it's when you're just really focused on what you need to do on the court. I try to kind of get into the zone as often as I can, but that's not always possible. I don't know if I was today or not, but I'm happy with the way I played. I think a few matches a year you really get into the zone and kind of everything goes your way, but all the other matches it's a struggle. You know, you have to learn to find a way to win even when you're not in the zone and when you're not playing your best.

Q. You had a spill in that first set that sounded kind of scary. Any lasting effects? Was it scary?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: When I fell? Yeah, I have no idea what happened (smiling). I just remember hitting a forehand and then lying on the ground. What happened between, I have no idea. I am totally fine. It was just embarrassing.

Q. Petra may be hitting the ball best of anybody on the circuit right now. What's it feel like to return those kind of power shots?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, when I played her at the Wimbledon final I think she was playing outstanding tennis. She definitely deserved the title, and, you know, I give her a lot of credit. She was hitting the ball very clean and very powerfully. You know, that's her game, and when she's on, it's really tough to play. So, yeah, I think she has great shots. That's really her strength.

Q. What's the process been getting over the hamstring from the Stosur match last week? How many days did you take off?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, it was something I managed in New Haven. I hurt it during practice a few days before the event, and therefore, really cut down on practice before the event. You know, I didn't feel so good on the match court. But it's something I had to do again, so it was a bit unfortunate because I feel like I was playing a bit better. Since then we taped it a little bit. It's something that healed pretty quickly, so I was happy. The past five days, six days or so have been great. I really put in a lot of hours of practice here in New York City. I feel like it's something I needed.

Q. Did you make any promise to yourself or to your parents of what you're gonna do after you win your first Grand Slam? If it's not a secret.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: No, I haven't thought about something specific. I try to stay more in the moment, you know. Of course, that's a dream of mine, to win a Grand Slam. But, you know, I'll think of something crazy. Hopefully once I have accomplished that. I don't want to get ahead of myself. It's a long, tough journey to win one. At any slam I'm just focused on the next match and only celebrate after, at the end, if I ever have that chance.

Q. Speaking of the next match, Cirstea.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yep. I don't think I have ever played her. I know I practiced with her a few times and I know she really likes to whack the ball. I'm going to be ready for, you know, a tough match. I think we're going to both try to be really aggressive. But I'm feeling better with my movement and better with my game. I'm going to try and impose, as usual.

Q. In talking about your goal of winning a Grand Slam of course. And also, looking back and having shed a tear with Wimbledon, what do you feel like you came away from that match though, really? What did you learn from that match that will help you going forward?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I learned a lot. It was an experience I'll never forget. I have happy memories from that day, as well, even though I lost. It was a very special moment and occasion. You know, I felt I could have done a few things better. But again, my opponent definitely outplayed me. You know, I was talking with my coach, and if I have a chance to be in another final, you know, at least I know what it feels like. I kind of have that little bit experience. You know, I would maybe take my time a little bit more, try not to be rushed by the occasion, you know, try anything to kind of stay in the match. Things like that. I think it was a really good experience.

Q. What are your first memories of having seen Serena Williams play? How has your view of the way she plays evolved as you have moved up in your career?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I mean, my memory is not very good, but I remember watching her when she had the beads in her hair. So that was probably my first memory of Serena and Venus. They would fall on the court and then it would like cause a huge commotion. I remember that. That was a while ago. So it's amazing to think she's still so on top of her game like ten years later, something like that. But, I mean, I think she's the greatest woman player of all time. You know, she can't do much wrong.

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