Bouchard Bounced at Citi Open

By Jane Voigt

Washington D.C., July 19, 2016 — Tennis is not for the faint of heart, especially in a transition period which is the situation at Citi Open in the nation's capitol this week. 

Most of the field here has not played a match since Wimbledon unless they attended Davis Cup ties last weekend. But that number is small: Borna Coric, Jack Sock and John Isner are a few. Ivo Karlovic just won Newport on Sunday, too, but those courts don’t count … they’re grass. 

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Thus the unprepared arrive here, practice on the hard courts of Rock Creek Park, then step up to the baseline to win a match and come face-to-face with some brutal expectations.

“Yeah, she kinda plays like not any other player,” Eugenie Bouchard (No. 5) said looking a tad overwhelmed after her first-round loss to Camila Giorgi, 7-5, 6-4. “Absolutely no rhythm. No long points at all. So, yeah, I found it [was] hard to find my feelings and get into my stuff. She was hitting pretty hard.”

Bouchard vs Giorgi CO 2016 07 19 LB 00131

Eugenie Bouchard, Citi Open’s number five seed, fell behind early in the first set and couldn’t gain any significant ground in her loss to Camila Giorgi, 7-5, 6-4,
today in Rock Creek Park.
Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com. 

But Bouchard's loss to Giorgi only can be blamed on Bouchard. Giorgi, who is ranked number 77 to Bouchard’s 41, smacked the fuzz off all shots, per usual. Yet Genie (her nickname) seemed determined not to try another approach. On top of that, she seemed determined to be right about her decision. 

It was the Italian’s first win, out of three meetings, against the former top-ten player.

“I played aggressive,” Giorgi told a small group of reporters. “It was a good match. I love hard courts. They are my favorite.”

Hard to tell what Bouchard liked, her disposition was dismal throughout the hour-and-15-minute encounter. She acted like a petulant child although she’s 22. She dropped her head after almost every error. She bounced her racquet out of frustration. She stayed in a crouch to hit ground strokes, leaving her in a less-than ideal position to recover from quick Giorgi returns as she stood on or inside the baseline and took the ball on the rise. Bouchard couldn’t get a read on Giorgi’s serve, either, especially one that targeted her body.

The crowd wanted Bouchard to win, mind you. A couple times the Canadian strung together a few good points and held at love. Her demeanor didn’t improve, yet fans were behind her as sparse as they were on a hot D.C. summer afternoon. 

“All day Genie,” one man yelled. “Come on Genie you gotta do it, you gotta do it,” another said.

“[The loss] was disappointing,” Bouchard said. “But I feel I shouldn’t have been down in that hole, 4-1, in the first set. It took me a while to get myself going a little bit, too, and without having any rhythm on the court I felt kinda out of it … I don’t know." 

Maybe it was her longer kit. Bouchard had been wearing the shortest of short dresses from Nike, even before the white Wimbledon one drew so much attention and was sent for alterations before some would wear it. Today Bouchard's gear was conservative: white pleated skirt and teal racer-back tank. Giorgi, though, wore a tiny dress to accent her slight figure — a leopard print in shiny bronze tones. It fit her bouncy game and bouncy ponytail. 

Bouchard vs Giorgi CO 2016 07 19 LB 00118A

Camila Giorgi produces some of the fastest racquet-head speed on tour. Her favorite court surface … hard. This is her first appearance at Citi Open.
Photo credit Leslie Billman tennisclix.com.

But for two women with rather similar baseline games, which would be accurately characterized as baseline bashing, they each had issues to conquer this afternoon. And that makes Bouchard’s attitude and performance all the more perplexing. Giorgi needed consistency, which she found. Bouchard needed to move her feet and dump the attitude, and grab the momentum when she had it, which she didn’t do or wouldn’t fight for.

“I still love you, Genie,” one fan said as he left the stadium after the match. Too bad Genie didn't seem to love herself enough to risk what she believed was the best strategy when failing at the sport she’s excelled at. Her highest ranking came in 2014, No. 7.

“I seem to have less [confidence] some times,” Bouchard said, about the match and her struggles to up her ranking. “But it shouldn’t depend completely on results. It’s also who you are as a person, working as hard as you can in life. And I don’t want the love for my family to depend on my ranking this week. I try to see it as just not tennis centered, if that makes sense. I was confused and struggled a lot last year. So, it’s been nice that I feel as though I have better guidance. That obviously helps and gives me confidence. And, just telling myself not to give a s**t about what people think or say around me. My career is short. Life is short. So I don’t want to waste time worrying about what you guys think."

Genie perked up, though, when an intrepid reporter asked, “Are you Team Taylor or Team Kanye?”  

“This is probably the hardest question all day. I love Taylor Swift and I went to her concert and I love her songs and everything but I feel like sometimes she portrays herself as the bitch a lot and she did this time around, and that thing she said she wasn’t aware of that specific line, bitch, but she heard the other line about having sex, so I’m like, really, what’s the huge difference? You approved the thing where Kanye ssid he’d have sex with you, but you didn’t hear the time he said bitch. Come on. It’s all the same thing for me. I think she just way overreacted. I think she just tried to get attention by saying she didn’t approve of that. But it’s the celeb world, and it’s just entertaining. It entertains me when I’m alone in D.C.”  

Bouchard said she had planned to use the week to prepare for her home-town tournament: Rogers Cup in Montreal. But now she didn’t seem clear on her next move. “Maybe I’ll stick around and go to the Spy Museum and The Air and Space Museum.” Maybe she’ll be entertained by Team Taylor and Team Kanye, too.

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013