Mauricio Paiz

Since she and her twin sister Beatrice were named after the Duchess of York’s (Sarah Ferguson's) children, Eugenie Bouchard has been fielding questions about the origin of her name at this year’s Wimbledon.

As she approaches the business end of the tournament, the British tabloid reporters have been amping up their coverage and frequenting her media conferences in increasing numbers.

Following her 7-6(5), 7-5 win over Alizé Cornet on Monday – giving her a berth in the quarter-finals of the third consecutive Grand Slam event, Bouchard fielded questions related to Princess Eugenie. The Royal princess is now aged 24 and is seventh in succession for the throne. Bouchard was asked if she has princess-like tendencies.

“Yes,” she replied.

“You can ask my coach or my parents or anyone that I can be a princess,” she said with a smile. “I mean, they’re not horrible. But I can be moody in the morning. I’m not much of a morning person. My fitness trainer carries my bag. But that’s because I don’t want to get tired because I want to save all my energy for the match.

“I mean, I can demand a few things once in a while – but I do it with love.”

Bouchard then smiled the winsome smile that has been known to diffuse all kinds of situations off the court, the same way her concussive hitting usually comes to her rescue in tough situations on the match court.

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Olga Morozova, runner-up to Chris Evert at Wimbledon in 1974, is a Russian who has made her home in London for more than 20 years. She did commentary on Bouchard’s match on Monday and observed about her, “she likes herself very much, which sometimes helps. You have to be a little bit selfish as a tennis player, and I think she has that. That’s okay.”

In (London’s) The Times on Monday, Bouchard said, “in tennis, you win and it’s all you. And if you lose, it’s all you. You have to dream big and if you don’t, you will not realize your dreams.”

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Not many people will dispute that. Another line of questioning at Monday’s media conference was about her mental strength, with a specific question about whether she has ever had a mental coach.

In a certain way, Bouchard answered that question in a subsequent response when she said, “when I was in school, I really enjoyed school. My favourite class was math. I was very determined to try to get 100 per cent on all my math tests. I think that kind of tennis translates into tennis.”

Milos Raonic also had a predilection for math, so there could be something in that.

But as for Bouchard, her competitive toughness and ability to have iron-clad focus in the heat of battle seems more likely a God-given instinct than anything that can be taught.

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She talked Monday about Kate Middleton’s parents being there on Centre Court last year when she played Ana Inanovic in the second round. For the Cornet match on Centre Court, billionaire Richard Branson (above) was in the Royal Box watching and Bouchard’s favourite television star, Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory, was in the friends box courtside with her family members and support group.

With her stellar ability to compartmentalize, it’s not hard to imagine that on Monday in Centre Court, London SW 19, she had her mind as far into her tennis (and away from anything outside) as much as she did as a 10-year-old playing in Murray Park near her Montreal home.

The match against the No. 25-ranked Cornet was an entertaining and high-quality affair.

“I went to do the match and I honestly wanted to see it from the first point to the last,” Morozova said. “I was nicely surprised, she (Bouchard) is good.

“I like what she does, and today, for example, in the second set, she came back very nicely winning the most important points…maybe a few when maybe she didn’t do the right things. But she was always dictating, which is the sign of a good player.”

There are rewards to dictating. Bouchard had 28 winners and 20 unforced errors for the match. Cornet’s ratio was better at 20 winners and 14 unforced errors, but there’s the fact that Bouchard imposes unrelenting aggression, which wears on opponents.

Just as Maria Sharapova had mentioned after her semifinal at the French Open about Bouchard’s technique, Cornet said, “she really throws her body forward into her shots, and she hits hard. She makes you run a lot. And she can really make the transition between down-the-line and cross-court.

“She never changes her game. She’s so aggressive that it makes it hard to put your game together.”

Cornet said she felt she had her chances but failed to capitalize when she did. None was probably more obvious than when she rallied – helped by a poor patch by Bouchard – from 4-1 down to lead 5-4 in the first-set tiebreak. Then, she tried a sort-of sliced backhand/drop shot that wound up in the net. “I made a bad choice,” she admitted about that shot, adding, “and then she hit an ace and big service return I couldn’t handle.

“It just shows she’s confident and playing very well in Grand Slams.”

Cornet had been through a traumatic past few days. Her grandmother died early last week and she had to return to Nice between her second-round match with Petra Cetkovska on Thursday and her upset of Serena Williams on Saturday.

Still, while she admitted it had been tough times for her, she was not really disappointed by her effort.

Bouchard’s trademark cerebral fortitude was evident in the first set of the match when she was always serving from behind and trailing, but never really looking like she was losing. “It was important for me not to think I was behind,” she said. “I was just focused on my serve – and trying to get some good returns in.

“We had a tough tiebreak at the end of the set and I’m proud that I kind of stayed in – even though I was kind of playing catch up. I always felt right there, trying to put the pressure on all the time.”

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The match was interrupted for more than half an hour by rain, and the resultant closing of the Centre Court roof with Cornet ahead 3-2 in the opening set.

Closing the roof didn’t seem to affect the tenor of the match. Because it was quite bright outside once the rain stopped and because the roof is translucent and because it wasn’t very humid, it almost didn’t feel like an indoor situation.

The rain, and being able to complete her match indoors, may have given Bouchard an advantage for her quarter-final on Wednesday. Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber did not get on No. 1 Court for their match. So, the winner of that one will not have a day’s rest before Wednesday, as Bouchard will. If Sharapova wins, it’s known she has a shoulder than requires a lot of maintenance. She has now lost a day before the quarter-final – and also a day before the semifinal, which is scheduled for Thursday.

All those things make Bouchard more and more of a legitimate contender for the title.

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Morozova, 65, was something of a charmer in her day the way Bouchard is now. Speculating on the chances that Bouchard could beat her Russian compatriot Sharapova, she said, “I saw her match against Sharapova in Paris, that was a good one. Today was a good one. We’ll see about the next one.

“Can she beat Sharapova? She can beat anyone because she has the game to beat anyone. But the thing about playing Sharapova, you don’t only have to hit hard, you have to do the right things at the right time.”

Most people will agree that the competitively precocious Bouchard is certainly capable of doing that.



Milos Raonic (above practicing Sunday) will be attempting to reach his second straight Grand Slam quarter-final when he plays 10th seeded Kei Nishikori in the second match on No. 3 Court on Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. following the women’s match between Sabine Lisicki and Yaroslava Shvedova.

It must be a little disappointing for Raonic that he has not yet made it onto either Centre Court or No. 1 Court in his four matches at Wimbledon. But the rain has discombobulated the schedule, but even that may not be an real explanation.

If he should beat Nishikori, he might meet Rafael Nadal in Wednesday’s quarter-final and that will surely be on one of the two main show courts.

Here are the two previous head-to-heads between Raonic (above after practice on Sunday shaking hands with Boris Becker while Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Ivan Ljubicic.):

Nishikori bt. Raonic 7-6(5), 7-6(5), round-of-16 Madrid, 2014.

Nishikori bt. Raonic 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-0 final Tokyo, 2012.

While the 24-year-old Japanese has won both previous meetings, Raonic is probably a slight favourite based on his play so far at Wimbledon and the fact that the match is on grass.

In their match in Madrid in April, Nishikori was playing the tennis of his life and looked like he would beat Rafael Nadal in the final before injuring his back.

As for 2012 in Tokyo, that was on Nishikori’s home turf and he became an historic winner – first Japanese to triumph at the Japan Open.

Raonic has only faced one break point – in his opening round against Matthew Ebden – in his three matches at Wimbledon and not lost his serve or a set.

The Nishikori return against the Raonic serve could tell the story of the match.



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In the junior girls event, No. 7 seed Francoise Abanda advanced to the second round with relative ease, defeating her Romanian opponent Jacqueline Adine Cristian 6-3, 6-2.

In second-round action on Tuesday, qualifier Katherive Sebov of Woodbridge, Ont, makes her junior Grand Slam debut against British wild card Gabriella Taylor.

Coaching Sebov on this trip is Marie-Eve Pelletier, who is just weeks from getting married to former NHL goaltender Pascal Leclaire.

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In men’s doubles on Monday, Vasek Pospisil and his American partner Jack Sock led eighth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 when rain forced postponement until Tuesday.

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In mixed doubles, third seeds Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic and were ahead 7-5, 1-1 against Lukas Dlouhy and Liezel Huber when the completion of their match was put over until Tuesday.



One of the charms of the middle Sunday at Wimbledon is that the All England Club grounds are quite deserted. In the picture above, reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is a solitary figure walking back from the practice courts. The three others in the picture are photographers who appear to have done their job and are leaving Murray to himself.