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"I remember calling my mom and saying I'm so scared I'm about to lose 6-0, 6-0" - Eugenie Bouchard recalls her first career meeting with Serena Williams 

Eugenie Bouchard shares her experience of facing Serena Williams for the first time
Eugenie Bouchard shares her experience of facing Serena Williams for the first time
Iman Guha

2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard recently featured in a segment on the Pardon my take podcast where she shared the experience of her first career meeting against Serena Williams.

The pair squared off for the first time in the second round of the 2013 Cincinnati Open. At the time, Williams was the reigning World No. 1, while the Canadian was a sprightly teenager climbing up the rankings.

Eugenie Bouchard said the occasion seemed surreal to her as she felt like she was looking at Williams on a TV screen despite standing just a few feet away from the American.

"I mean, to be honest, for sure. The first time, especially when I played her, I looked across the net and I felt like I was looking at my TV screen because I'm so used to seeing her on TV," she said.

Besides being amazed by the aura surrounding Williams, the 28-year-old explained that she felt great about being in a position to play against her. She also revealed that she was so overwhelmed by the occasion that at one point, she was simply thinking about getting a good serve in instead of devising ways to win.

"I was like, "Wow." I mean, it's an amazing feeling to be able to get to that place and achieve that to be able to play against her. And so it's just kind of one of those like out-of-your-body experiences, because you're just so used to seeing her on TV and now she's actually in front of you waiting for you to serve," Bouchard recalled. "I wasn't even thinking about winning at that point, I was like, "I just want to do a good enough serve that like, she's OK to return," you know what I mean?"

The Canadian further recalled calling her mother before the match and nervously admitting that she might get double-bageled by Williams. In reality, however, the match played out quite differently and the 2014 Wimbledon finalist managed to take the first set before falling in three.

"Well, you know, the first time I ever played Serena, I do remember calling my mom before and just saying, like, "I'm so scared I'm about to lose 6-0, 6-0." And then I went out there and I won the first set, and then I lost. That was another match," she explained.

Asked what the handshake was like, the former World No. 5 joked that handshakes are a big thing in tennis. But she revealed that the one with Williams was great and that the American was gracious.

"Oh, great. She's gracious. Yeah, but handshakes are a big thing in tennis," Bouchard commented.

Eugenie Bouchard is expected to return to the tour in time for the Roland Garros qualifiers

Eugenie Bouchard in action in Roland Garros 2020
Eugenie Bouchard in action in Roland Garros 2020

Eugenie Bouchard has been absent since March last year. She was last seen in competitive action at the 2021 Monterrey Open where she suffered an opening-round defeat to Lin Zhu of China.

Having undergone shoulder surgery last June, the Canadian has been recuperating. Although Bouchard featured on the official entry list for the US Pro Women's Clay Court Championships last month, there was no confirmation from her side and her name was subsequently withdrawn.

However, the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up did take part in the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles, a new event on the Champions Series Tennis tour. She won her exhibition set against 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. She then partnered Tommy Haas to win the mixed doubles as well, against the pairing of Kenin and Sam Querrey.

Eugenie Bouchard has entered the 2022 Roland Garros qualifiers, which are scheduled to get underway on 16 May.


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Edited by Keshav Gopalan

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