MONTREAL – It seemed Saturday that all eyes were glued to Eugenie Bouchard’s Wimbledon match. Montreal fans anxiously watched as their hometown favourite faced Petra Kvitova in the women’s final.
In N.D.G, the Monkland Tennis Club had organized a small viewing party, complete with name tags, a “Genie” cocktail – green because Wimbledon has grass courts – and even a breakfast dish named after Bouchard. Fans were convinced she would win.
“I want to be just like her,” said one little girl at the viewing party.
“It’s not over until it’s over, so we’re behind her,” said Ellen Moss, another viewer and member of the tennis club. “It’s a little nerve-wracking because we love her so much.”
The atmosphere was especially tense at the Monkland Tennis Club, as members feel a special connection to Bouchard, given that her younger brother also trains there.
In the end, the Montreal-native was beat 6-3 and 6-0.
“Today she didn’t serve very well,” said Andree Martin, a former professional tennis player who has played at Wimbledon herself. “Her first serve was not in, I think when she gets nervous she doesn’t serve as well, so she got attacked a lot.”
“Her opponent took control of the points right away,” added Martin.
As determined as her play was on the court, however, Bouchard was also gracious in defeat.
“I’d like to congratulate Petra,” said Bouchard. “She played fantastic these two weeks.”
At the press conference that followed the match, Bouchard made it clear she remained optimistic.
“I think it’s a tough road to try to become as good as I want to be, no matter what,” she said. “I’m not going to win every single time, I think this was a good experience for me, my first slam final, so I’m going to learn a lot from this match and hopefully use it to get much better.”
It’s an optimism that “team Genie” shared. She is still a source of Montreal pride, they say, for having come so far at such a young age. Bouchard is now ranked sixth in the world, making her the highest ranking Canadian ever.
“She has to grow up, she has a lot of time to come around, and she did good,” said one viewer.
“We wanted her to win so badly,” said Betty Crisante, who organized the viewing party. “But she’s still 20 and she has a lot of time.”
“Maybe next year,” added a smiling Crisante.
Bouchard will be back in Canada for the Rogers’ cup in August.
© Shaw Media, 2014