Dec/18

22

Bouchard Makes Major Statement in Honolulu

By Scoop Malinowski

If you have written off Eugenie Bouchard as a major title contender, you may have to re-think that prognostication.

More renowned lately for her social media activities, the former Wimbledon finalist in 2014, apparently is fiercely determined to salvage her tennis career and get back to the elite echelon.

Bouchard has joined forces with Michael Joyce, the former long time coach of Sharapova, and this partnership is generating immediate progress.

Last night at the Hawaii Open, Bouchard absolutely bombarded and bludgeoned poor Coco Vandeweghe with a first set bagel. Coco was totally dominated and outclassed by Bouchard’s pinpoint power striking, consistency and also, rather surprisingly, some innovative, creative tennis.

Previously known as being a one dimensional baseline basher, Bouchard is in the process of changing that perception. She boldly ventured to the net and knocked off every volley for a winner, leaving Coco dumbfounded and dazed by the stunning onslaught.

Bouchard went on to win the match but that first set blitzkrieg in a meaningless off season exhibition was likely a foreshadow of what to expect in 2019 from Bouchard…her most inspired and best tennis yet.

Bouchard is serious and focused about tennis again, with a high quality new coach in her corner, so do not be surprised if she shocks the world once or twice or thrice next year.

Last night’s match was interesting on many levels.

Coco and Bouchard looked more than serious and even unfriendly before the match and one might have even suspected a slight grudge between the two. So this match was contested with a competitive spirit between two desperate players eager to get their careers back on track. Coco lost nine straight singles matches to finish 2018, Bouchard is ranked 87.

As Bouchard dazzled everyone with her brilliant tennis there was no acknowledgement from Coco, who just endured the beatdown with uncustomary poise and stoicism. Of course, Coco is well known for being one of the fiercest competitors in pro tennis and not one to suppress the eruption of a violent racquet smash or two. But it seemed Coco did not want to give Bouchard that satisfaction of showing her rage. It was a serious, intense battle with a lot at stake.

Yes a major statement was made last night in Hawaii. Genie Bouchard is ready and eager to return to Grand Slam finals and a top five ranking.

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23 comments

  • Hartt · December 22, 2018 at 10:34 am

    A while ago Bouchard’s trainer, Scott Byrnes, talked about how players need the courage to try new things, and that Genie was doing that now. If she is trying to change her game she could become a force to be reckoned with once again.

  • catherine · December 22, 2018 at 10:43 am

    CoCo seems on a downward spiral – is Pat Cash still her coach ? It’s a pity – she has a good basic game (I think) but needs some serious mental adjustment. Played good doubles with Barty in 2018. Maybe she needs the support of a level-headed partner on court. By herself she can go nuts.

    Be interesting to see how Genie copes in Oz. Not sure if she’s playing Hopman Cup.

  • catherine · December 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Hartt – I agree, although changing a game can be quite difficult by the time a player reaches mid-twenties. Against tough opposition there’s a tendency to revert to old habits.

  • Hartt · December 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Catherine, Canada isn’t in the Hopman Cup this year, which is a shame because it likely will be the last one.

    As we’ve said, Genie’s game has been too one-dimensional, so she did have to make changes even if that is difficult. I wonder if coaches over the years have tried to get her to do that, but she resisted. Then, when she hit bottom, going so low in the rankings, she finally understood that she needed more variety in her game. This is just conjecture on my part, but it seems plausible.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 22, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    It was Coco Vandeweghe. It’s an exhibition. Bouchard got a long way to go before she vies for a slam again. And Michael Joyce hasn’t worked w a high level player in a long time.

  • Hartt · December 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    I think Bouchard getting back to the top 50 next season would be a realistic goal. She needs some stability in her team and I was pleased to hear that Scott Byrnes was back as her trainer. I hope the coaching relationship with Michael Joyce does work out.

    It’s a shame more people did not see Genie’s Fed Cup matches last April against Ukraine. She played very well and showed real grit. Thanks to Genie’s 2 wins, and Bianca’s courage in playing the doubles (and winning along with Gabriela), after being wheeled off the court the day before, Canada achieved the upset. It was a thrilling weekend for Canadian tennis fans.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 22, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Bouchard looked that good last night hammering Coco, I think she’s going to contend for big titles. Another surprise is that Bouchard is popular with other female players, many other WTA players comment friendly on her IG posts, she had an image of being a conceited loner from that Fed Cup handshake refusal but she is apparently well liked by many players.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 22, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Yes Cash is with Coco in Hawaii, Coco has lost some singles mojo, she looked so good making major semis.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Coco like Sock another once top-flute singles player who’s singles has bottomed put after she played too much doubles. Stop with the doubles if your goal is to be a top singles player.

  • Wayne Bradford · December 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Genie is absolutely making a statement…

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BrqVE29ne1Q/

    https://thebiglead.com/2018/12/22/genie-bouchard-noah-syndergaard-instagram/

    Hello everyone, love the site. My name is Wayne and I am a tennis fan in Kansas. I generally watch more men’s tennis than women though I do love the ladies. I rooted for Pete Sampras and of course, Federer. Who knows how many more years I have of that. Looks like a cool site.

  • Jg · December 22, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Bouchard just blew away Muguruza, I can see Bouchard top ten this year ( if she plays like this)

  • Jg · December 22, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Gotta love the Hawaiian shirt Kei was wearing, he should have kept it on to play.

  • catherine · December 23, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Looks a nice result for Genie, blowing away Muguruza, but Garbine hasn’t had a stellar year so I wouldn’t read too much into that. What will it take to separate her from Sumyk ? Fisticuffs on court ?

  • Hartt · December 23, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Genie has played doubles with many different players and seems to enjoy being part of a team. She is sociable by nature, so it’s not a surprise that other players like her. She did say she thought it was difficult to have good friends on the tour because it was tough to play a friend, but that is different from being friendly. When she had her big run I think she was arrogant, but her struggles these past few years showed just how difficult it is to succeed. Some of her comments indicate she now appreciates how good the other players are, and not just the top ones.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Dan, are you saying McEnroe would have won more singles majors and lasted longer in singles if he shunned doubles? Can you prove this?

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Hi Wayne, welcome to the site. Yes, agreed, Genie is a woman on a mission and based on her fine form vs Coco and Muguruza, I see her having her best year this year. It’s her time. Expect Federer to play beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 8:26 am

    jg, Bouchard will play even better than this and do better than top ten, mark my words. Sam Sumyk nowhere to be found in Honolulu, maybe Muguruza left him at the hotel.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Bouchard even had her friend Michelle Wie come out to support her and Wie was making some loud noises all match vs Coco.

  • catherine · December 23, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Scoop – expect Sumyk to be gone if Garbine fails in Oz. You read it here first 🙂

    Genie/CoCo score was 7-5 6-1 so I expect Wie’s vocalising had something to do with that second set. I’m only surprised CoCo didn’t throw racquets and complain.

    Re doubles – Barty’s singles game doesn’t seem to have suffered by her playing doubles. And going back – what about Martina ? She competed in doubles until she retired and she didn’t do so badly. Difficult case to prove though, either way.

  • catherine · December 23, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Sorry – got that score wrong – 6-0 7-6 – so CoCo pulled herself together or got earplugs. That score was almost the reverse of Muguruza/Bouchard so I’d say CoCo came out of this one better. What I saw suggested that.

    Also, I think CoCo had some injury towards the end of the season. So maybe a bit rusty.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Bouchard hits the ball too flat to break into top 10. This is a woman who for the past few years had trouble breaking into top 10 and suddenly you’re projecting her as a slam contender. Please.

    Scoop, McEnroe was a special talent. You can’t compare Mac to Sock. Mac was a special case. HIs game blended well with singles and doubles. Martina was the same. But you take most players like Sock and Coco, their games actually decline when they play doubles regularly and the reason is the shots you hit in doubles with the exception of the return, are almost counter to the shots you hit in singles.

    Mac benefitted by playing doubles because he didn’t like to practice much so playing doubles served as his practice and also Mac played doubles much like he played singles by serving and volleying a lot. Sock doesn’t serve and volley when he plays doubles. So Mac and Martina were special cases.

    Welcome to the site, Wayne. Are you Wayne Bryan?

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Sock’s doubles prowess helped him get to the top ten last year. Doubles helped his overall game he just had a bad year this year due to probably work ethic and professionalism issues, goofing off in practices and acting like a trick shot clown is what degraded his singles.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Bouchard had MP vs Mertens but sailed a forehand long after a good rally. Then she botched yet another overhead after a great deep shot into the corner that Mertens somehow desperately lunged to get back. Bouchard just fell down laughing at herself, laying on her back then said at the trophy presentation interview that she was so mad for missing that shot that’s all she was gonna say. She’s pretty funny in interviews with a bold sense of humor.

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