Bouchard feeling good in Paris
Despite a second round exit at Roland Garros, Genie Bouchard sounds more positive than her disastrous season last year. She’s gained weight and muscle, and the return of her longtime coach Nick Saviano has given her confidence and composure. Though she struggled to handle Baczinszky’s variety of high and low balls outside her strike zone, Bouchard fought back after losing 10 games in a row before losing 6-4, 6-4. She’s still only 21, and she can move back up the rankings by winning in events where she exited in the first round last year.
(all images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)
GENIE BOUCHARD AFTER BEATING SIEGEMUND 6-2, 6-2
I’m really happy to be working with Nick (Saviano) again. Yeah, I mean, the plan is to work together right now. He knows me so well. He understands when I’m going through difficulties. You can read me. It’s like he’s inside my head. So having a kind of partnership like that is really beneficial. I’m really happy with it.
I mean, I feel like, yeah, when I’ve had bad results you can’t really pinpoint one thing. It’s a perfect storm of events, as with any unfortunate event in life. But I know the mental side is so important for me. I think when I played well in 2014, it was my strength, the strongest part of my game. I definitely feel like I lost that a bit in 2015. It’s super important to me and I feel like I’m regaining it.
How about them Raps? Can we talk about that? (Laughter.) Well, I can’t watch it live, which sucks, but as soon as I wake up it’s like the first thing I Google every morning. I watched the three-minute highlights on the way to the courts this morning. Just good. Impressive. The atmosphere seemed amazing over there. I don’t know. Kyle Lowry showed up, so it was good. I don’t know what’s going to happen though. It will be very interesting to see, because Cleveland is undefeated at home, but the Raptors have this momentum. So it’s exciting.
Q. You mentioned something, I think it was on the WTA site or a Podcast you had done about appetite. You were having nerves and stress. Can you talk about that a little bit more and how that affected you and how you have helped yourself figure it out?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, it’s definitely a struggle I had in 2015. I felt a lot of pressure and kind of this expectation if you win a match it’s normal and if you lose it’s a disaster. Before matches I was very nervous and definitely had trouble eating. I just felt like it would come right back up. It’s a difficulty I went through. And not just before matches, but happened to me at other meals as well. So people think I was concerned about my body image and things like that and I was losing weight on purpose. That was really not the case. I was just so stressed I was burning calories even more than I normally would, so it was hard to kind of intake enough to keep my weight up or even gain weight, which was the goal, to become stronger. So, yeah, something I went through. I feel like I learned from it. I know now that even if I feel sick I have to force food down my throat. Yeah, I feel like I’ve come out stronger and able to deal with a problem if it ever comes back to me again.
Q. (Off microphone.) Did you hire a new dietician?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Not a specific dietician, but with the trainers around me. I was also speaking to a sports psychologist, things like that. Just my team around me to try to help. I got through it.
Q. You turned things around at the US Open really. How do you think you did that finally?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Jimmy Connors helped. I think I had a really bad loss the week before in New Haven, and that kind of was a huge reality check. It was a slap in the face. I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, Genie, what’s going on? Let’s go. I kind of got my shit together in a way. I was just so disappointed in myself for having these average results. Very, very motivated. I worked very hard the week before the US Open. I had a fresh, positive, inspiring voice in Jimmy. I just told myself to get my act together and I worked really hard and stayed positive more I had you throughout the whole year and somehow managed a couple good wins. It’s small little things that take — that it can take to turn around a season or anything like that. But I was able to recognize it. A little late in the year, but I did it.
BOUCHARD AFTER LOSING TO TIMEA BACZINSZKY 6-4, 6-4.
Q. What’s your initial reaction to the match?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Very disappointing. What’s the most disappointing is my game feels good. My shots feel good. I feel good on the court. So, yeah, that’s what hurts the most, I guess.
Q. Talk about after you jumped out to the early lead what you thought happened. Obviously she raised her level a little bit, but did you just feel overwhelmed or just down on yourself? What was going through your mind?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I felt like I put myself in a good position in preparation and everything. I’ve done everything that I possibly could to be ready. I started out strong. The game plan was working and things like that. So I think I lost focus a little bit. You know, her with her back a little bit against the wall she definitely raised her level. Yeah, it’s unacceptable really to lose ten games in a row in a match. I think that my focus a little bit was the part that let me down, the mental part. Something I’ve been working on. I had been getting better, so it’s not always going to be good.
Q. Anything different with the match in Indian Wells? Anything surprises you or any similarities?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think she was a bit more aggressive than I expected. What woke me up in that second set was I realized I needed to be that one stepping into the court more.
Q. Tough loss. We’re asking players if they could go back and give themselves advice when they were just emerging into the pro level, if you could give yourself some advice when you were just starting to emerge, what might that be?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: For me it would be to not worry about what people say about you and not listen to all the noise around you. Just listen to your immediate circle, your team. Yeah, focus on that and trust you’re going on the right path.
Q. If you could follow up, could you talk about what it’s like being back with Nick and how did that come about?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I’m happy to be working with Nick again. You know, he’s known me since I was 12 and we’ve always had a good relationship. To work together again has been really refreshing for me. I think we both appreciate one another probably more having kind of a year and a half apart. I think he’s the right coach for me. I feel like I’ve improved already in one, two months with him, so I’m looking forward to a lot more improvement.
Q. You came back in the second set almost to win the set. Is this performance in the second set something you’ll look back to and say, I can do this; I can show tenacity?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I feel like I made up for it a little bit at least coming back and fighting until the end. I’m always going to do that. So I saved face a little bit. It was kind of too little too late. Soon as I kind of relaxed and played my game, you know, I was coming out on top on a lot of the points. So I wish I had had that mentality earlier in the match and not four points away from losing.
Q. You had the two points for 5-All and I think you made errors on both of them. Was it just too steep a hill to climb?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, definitely disappointed in that game. I think after 15-40 I made four unforced errors or something. You know, at least I put myself in that position. Again, disappointing to not follow through once I was in that position. Again, got a little bit ahead of myself. Against a top-10 player, they’ll never let you get away with that.
Q. Maybe a tough time to ask this, but where do you see your game in general right now?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Like I said at the beginning, my game actually feels good. My shots feel good. My movement feels good. So I think it hurts a bit more knowing I can play really well right now. But I know it’s a long process and a long journey. When I restarted working with Nick, we talked about a long-term plan. Of course immediate results would be great, but it’s trying to improve over the long run to become the best player I can be. And, yeah, so that’s talking months, a year, or more. So I have to kind of keep that in my head, that that’s the ultimate goal. But I know my game is there. If you can put it all together, immediate results are possible as well.
Q. What are your plans for the next couple weeks? Obviously grass season coming up. Is that one of your favorites?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah. After I get over the disappointment it’ll be time to get excited for grass. I’m scheduled to play every week of the grass season, so I’m looking forward to that. Yeah, just keep going, keep grinding.
Q. It’s tough enough to work on shots and strokes and also on the physical side, but the mental side I would imagine is particularly tough. If I heard right, you said you were working on that. Could you take a moment and say how you approach that, how you work on that.
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I like to say tennis is 90% mental. A lot of things in life are really mental. It’s so important, I think. What I think is my strength, and I feel like I’ve not used that as much in the past year or so. So I’m kind of on this path to try to get it to be my amazing strength again like it was in the past. The brain is like a muscle. You got to work it out. (Smiling.) So that’s what I been trying to do. Doesn’t always work out on the match court, but slowly but surely hopefully it will.
Q. You had the abdominal problem in Charleston. I presume you’re feeling a lot better, 100% better now?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I am feeling 100%, yes. Thank you.