Eugenie Bouchard, who lost in the final of the 2021 Guadalajara Open on Sunday, revealed after the match that she is drawing inspiration from Rafael Nadal as she tries to make a comeback to the top rungs of the sport. Bouchard hasn't won a title on the professional tour since 2014.
The Canadian went down in straight sets to Sara Sorribes Tomo in the championship match at Guadalajara, but understands that the journey is far from over. Bouchard pointed out that when Rafael Nadal is trying to add new dimensions to his game even after winning a record 20 Slams, players like her had a long way to go.
"If Rafael Nadal is still trying to improve then I certainly have a long way to keep going," Eugenie Bouchard said.
I don't think you ever really get where Rafael Nadal is: Eugenie Bouchard
Although Rafael Nadal is showing no signs of slowing down, there have been times in the past where the Spaniard has struggled with his confidence. After winning the French Open last year, Nadal failed to win his maiden career title at either the Paris Masters or the ATP Finals.
Compared to Rafael Nadal's recent struggles, Eugenie Bouchard has had to face much larger setbacks in her career. But the 27-year-old believes that even if she doesn't make the most of her recent comeback to form the way Nadal has in the past, the effect of her efforts is starting to show.
"I don’t think you ever really get there, but I feel like the work I’ve put in over the last year or so is finally coming to fruition a little bit," Bouchard said.
"The more tournaments I play, the more chances I can give myself to win matches and hopefully titles" - Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard might have failed to win a title in more than half a decade, but she isn't giving up hope. The Canadian intends to keep playing as much as she can, to give herself "more chances to win matches, and hopefully titles".
"I just feel like I need to give myself more chances. The more tournaments I play, the more chances I can give myself to win matches and hopefully titles," Bouchard added.
Eugenie Bouchard was the talk of the town when she reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and the finals at Wimbledon in 2014. But the Canadian fell into a sophomore slump the following year, and was unable to play with the same exuberance.
Bouchard's season then took a turn for the worse when she suffered a concussion at the 2015 US Open, after slipping on a cleaning substance in the locker room. The 27-year-old did not play for the rest of the 2015 season, with her world ranking tumbling outside the top 100.
It has been a long upward climb ever since, but the recent signs are positive. And if she is looking at Rafeal Nadal as an inspiration, she's certainly got at least one thing going for her.