Bouchard means business
Eugenie Bouchard will take a businesslike attitude on to Centre Court today as the seemingly imperturbable Canadian tackles her first Wimbledon final.
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At the age of 20, Bouchard is impressive on the court and granite off it, a study in focus on the mission she set out on at the age of nine, when she decided a career in professional tennis was her destiny.
Standing between the Montreal resident and a maiden grand slam title is Petra Kvitova, the 24-year-old Czech player who triumphed at Wimbledon three years ago. Yet, because of Bouchard's remarkable story and extraordinary poise for a player of her age, the former champion goes into the final almost under the radar.
Bouchard has mown a straight path through the draw, winning her six matches in straight sets and giving off no signs of weakness.
Her moment may have arrived, and there may be many more such great moments to follow, with Bouchard possessing a game that could bring her multiple major titles.
"I started playing tennis at five years old. Soon after, it was my dream to become a professional tennis player," she said. "I was very young when I decided I wanted to do it. I was nine. Since that age I dreamt of winning a grand slam.
"It's been a long time in the making for it to finally come together, all the hard work, the talent I know I have, the effort I put in, for it to produce results on the match court.
"That's happened this year."
Fame and fortune are by-products of her talent, but Bouchard said: "If I don't perform on the court then there's not much off court. So I really try to focus on my job, because at the end of the day I'm a tennis player.
"I go to work every day and I work on my tennis. As long as I do that, I'll take anything that comes with it."
Bouchard was the Wimbledon girls' champion in 2012 and reached the third round of the women's singles last year. The trajectory has been a steep one and, if she falls short against Kvitova, the likelihood is she will be back at the business end of the tournament frequently in the years ahead.
Her once-close bond with British player Laura Robson is a thing of the past.
Robson called them "besties" last year, but when asked whether they remained good friends, Bouchard said: "No, I don't think so."
The fracturing of their friendship may have centred on a tug-of-war over coach Nick Saviano, whom Robson appointed as her coach last autumn at a time when he was also working with Bouchard.
It appeared they would attempt to share Saviano as their coach, but Robson ended the arrangement in March when she signed up Colombian Mauricio Hadad.
Bouchard, however, was not willing to offer any more detail, adding somewhat tersely: "I'm sure you guys can figure out that one."
Kvitova is braced for a difficult test in her second Wimbledon final.
"I beat her for the first time last year in Toronto, but it's a long time ago," Kvitova said. "It was on the hard court. This is totally different. I really have to focus on everything and try to push her."