Genie Bouchard and Thomas Högstedt reunited in Florida (updated)

Guess who was on court at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida Tuesday morning?

You guessed it – old pals Genie Bouchard and coach Thomas Högstedt.

Högstedt and Bouchard on court at IMG Academy last December. It's déjà vu all over again. (Opencourt.ca)

Högstedt and Bouchard on court at IMG Academy last December.
It’s déjà vu all over again. (Opencourt.ca)

This was confirmed to Open Court by multiple sources, as Bouchard made just a brief pit stop in Miami on her way home from Las Vegas before heading across the state to get back to work.

With only three weeks to go until the 2017 season begins, the 22-year-old Canadian has very little time to waste as she finally returns to the training court in earnest.

The two are already well-acquainted. The advantage to that is that they can hit the ground running. We were told Wednesday that nothing is formalized yet; the pair is trying it on for size. But we were also told that it was a done deal. The different between the two versions is probably financial. 🙂

Certainly, if it turns out that a reunion can’t work, Bouchard would be between a rock and a hard place with just two weeks of pre-season remaining.

Hogstedt, who was let go by Bouchard in early April when the Canadian reunited with old coach Nick Saviano, ended things with American Madison Keys after the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore in late October.

He brought Keys into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

A year ago at this time, Bouchard was also at IMG working with Högstedt, after hiring him during the fall in the wake of the concussion she suffered at the US Open.

He brought some welcome stability to her set-up after a very unstable 2015 season, uncertainty which obviously was reflected in her results on the court.

The two had their differences the first time around; even outwardly, you could see during some of the on-court coaching consultations that Bouchard wasn’t all that convinced by the Swede’s relentless positivity. So it’s probably not a perfect solution – if indeed such a solution exists.

As for Frenchman Cyril Saulnier, who coached Bouchard in 2016 when Saviano wasn’t on the road – and even sometimes when he was – well,  he’s officially out of the picture. An excellent coach, Saulnier was also a calm presence in a rather chaotic situation and deserved better than to not know where he stood, just a few weeks before the season, before finally getting the word at the end of last week. It’s a tough business.

As Bouchard finally begins preparations for 2017, coach Cyril Saulnier is left twisting in the wind a little bit. (Opencourt.ca)

As Bouchard finally begins preparations for 2017, coach Cyril Saulnier is left twisting in the wind a little bit. (Opencourt.ca)

Theoretically, Bouchard was supposed to be in Asia playing in the exhibition IPTL League right now. But although no official announcement was ever made – not by the IPTL, not by Bouchard’s management or Bouchard herself via social media – that participation never happened.

We’re told that the league tried to cut her fees down, and Bouchard wasn’t going to hop on a plane with only a promise of payment (understandably). Perhaps, in the end, she wasn’t all that keen on playing anyway.

Whatever the reasons, the elimination of that commitment is a blessing in disguise for Bouchard. She will now have an extra two weeks to catch up on her training after doing very little of anything since mid-September.

We’re told Högstedt was also in Las Vegas last week, discussing the parameters of the reunion.

A priority for him has been coaching the two daughters of former South African rugby star Ruben Kruger – Zoe, already big and tall at age 14 and Isabelle, 11. The girls already have an agent and are considered very promising.

In fact, there were weeks during their 2016 collaboration where Högstedt was not available – most infamously, that week in early April when Bouchard arrived in Charleston with new/old coach Nick Saviano.

Bouchard, Zoe Kruger and Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy discuss at the IMG Academy last December. Kruger, just 13 at the time, practiced with Bouchard.

Bouchard, Zoe Kruger and Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy discuss at the IMG Academy last December. Kruger, just 13 at the time, practiced with Bouchard.

As the two resume their collaboration, that might mean Team Genie may well need an associate coach to fill out weeks on the schedule. Or it might not.

But with so little time to work with, perhaps the “devil you know” is better than the one you don’t.

Genie Bouchard - Dec. 22 - and Hogstedt

Bouchard did spend a few days with longtime Andre Agassi trainer Gil Reyes in Vegas, although training female players certainly isn’t Reyes’ specialty. But she has spent little time on court over nearly three months, since that dramatic second-round loss in Quebec City. She played one match in Linz, another in Luxembourg, and a hit-and-giggle in Turkey on Oct. 30.

With all the globetrotting the last few months, she has some catching up to do.

We’ll update with any more news.

Here’s some video of a year ago, when Bouchard was being put through her paces in the very same spot.

 

 

Shares 0

22 thoughts on “Genie Bouchard and Thomas Högstedt reunited in Florida (updated)

  1. Seems rather rushed. Looks like she’s looking back instead of going forwards with a new coach (although they had success for the first few months in ’16). In the article in LaPresse today, Marois quoted Genie as saying : «Je suis très compétitive, et mon objectif pour la prochaine saison est de faire tout ce qui est en mon pouvoir pour être certaine de ne pas avoir de regrets. Et j’espère devenir moi aussi l’une de ses “histoires à succès” (Agassi de #141 en 1998 à #1 en 1999) en travaillant fort pour revenir à la place QUE JE MÉRITE.»

    The last part struck as being a part of her problem: comparing herself to Agassi is quite presumptuous (although I DO get her analogy) and “by training/working hard I hope to get back to the the Top 10 WHICH I DESERVE”. Ouch !! That sounds a little entitled – not the right mental frame of mind which no doubt plagued her thoughts in ’15 and ’16. She needs a sports shrink fast !!!

    • Those quotes are from a story two days ago, lifted from a story in a Sydney newspaper several days before that.

      Here are the actual, original quotes before they were poorly translated. That’s the danger in taking other people’s work and translating it.

      “He was No. 1 in the world and then dropped to 147 and then got back up to No.1.
      “I just love seeing stories like that because it inspires me and it shows that if you are relentless
      and persistent then anything can happen.
      “I’m a very competitive person and my goal for next year is to make sure I do everything in my
      control so I have no regrets.
      “Now I hope to be one of those success stories myself by working hard to get back to where I
      belong.”

      That’s not “Which I deserve”. And she never mentioned any specific ranking – certainly not top 10.

      Should also be noted that the story states as fact that Bouchard chose to skip going to Asia to play IPTL so she could train. Which was not the case. And that it repeats my exclusive story about Bouchard training with Högstedt in Florida, without any attribution or credit.

      The Agassi stuff comes straight from a few days with Gil Reyes, who has only Agassi as a reference point for anything and never stops talking about him. Clearly there was some pep-talking going on and she’s just repeating it back. I don’t think she’s comparing herself to him. All depends on whether you want to think the best or the worst.

      • Michel Marois steals *a lot* of work from foreign writers without giving any credit or citing it as a source. He just translates things he finds on Twitter.

        I’m surprised you haven’t taken legal action yet as he’s been doing it for years.

        • He’s not the only one. I get ripped off by a lot of people. My lawyer would be pretty busy.
          It also seems that the “policy” in French-Québec media is not to hyperlink to the work they scrape. I’m working on that one behind the scenes 🙂

      • Ok so Marois loves to ripoff original sources without reference – didn’t know the Quebec sports writers plagiarize – ahh the microcosm of La Belle Province. “…Where I belong” does indeed sound better than “..which I deserve”…rough translation (I thought she was referring to her previous 11-month stay in the Top 10) from Marois pisspoor google translate skills.

        Still, I can’t help but think that the “where I belong” part comes off as at least a bit silver-spooned in light of her 2-year-long mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of her back in ’14…still am just waiting for her to get an actual stable, top-flight Team Bouchard and get back her physical stature she lost in the 1st half of 2015 (“..couldn’t keep food down..”). Wasn’t it Borg’s coach who diligently kept his protege’s weight at the same exact point year after year believing that the human musculoskeletal system would go awry (ie. erratic forehands/backhands) with even a few pounds of lost (or gained !) weight ? Sorry for veering off on a tangent there, lol.

        • There’s a lot that’s not quite right there. Bouchard has, in fact, always had trouble with nerves/food before matches – even when she was a junior. It’s just that not many of her fans paid attention before a few years ago; they didn’t know who she was.

          I think she’s gotten things back to a good-enough place, especially compared to earlier in the year. But that issue was only the outward manifestation of what was going on inside. You can’t get your “physical stature” back without resolving the problems that creates the issue in the first place.

          They don’t necessarily plagiarize – not all the time, but they just don’t link to the original reporting. I’m sure the excuse is that it’s usually in English, but of course that’s a crock of s..t. I’ve been around a lot of cities’ media, especially during my baseball years. I’m not sure there’s a worse one than here.

          Bouchard doesn’t specify WHERE she thinks she belongs, so your insistence is mostly about you wanting to stick to your original opinion. I think we can all agree that just inside the top 50 is not “where she belongs”.

          Remember that this interview was done over the phone, by someone she doesn’t even know. I always hesitate to hold athletes to every word they say as if God were speaking. I know what it’s like to be interviewed and the big difference from how I thought it in my head, and how it appears in black and white, written. I didn’t think it was all that out of hand. But that’s just me. A lot of people, esp. on phone interviews, don’t quote athletes accurately, either.

          As for Borg, you might be too young to remember but his coach was such a crazy control freak that Borg’s brain blew up and he was only 26 when he just up and quit. And still has issues. So I’m not sure that’s the right way to go. 🙂 🙂

          • Steph, are there any sites you know of where I can read up on Borg’s life these days? He was my childhood idol, my first new racket was a Donnay, had the bag and all that, and I have always respected the way he carried himself as a gentleman so I’m sorry to here he still carries those scars from his twenties. Any thoughts, or could you update us if you had a chance- perhaps a yahooSports ‘where are they now’ article?

          • No clue. I imagine the scars have healed. Seems quite at peace. Don’t know what he’s up to, really. Has an underwear and clothing line with his name, has some small involvement with the new McEnroe-Borg movie but not much of one. I mean, Google him!

          • But you are my google when it comes to tennis…

            Happy Holidays!!

          • Yes, but keep in mind the mail is slow this time of year!

  2. From fan view with all tweet,instagram etc Genie do not look as girl who want to be the best. Here is the problem, because she is probably working hard but it not the kind of tweet she send because the off tennis glamour tweet are part of the game for a tennis player to Earn the most in there carreer. This create for fan not knowing tennis very much a bad impression .

  3. I thought that Högstedt was on IMG payroll focused on IMG players?

  4. If they had some problems the first time around, & the Kruger sisters are a major priority for Hogstedt, it does not sound like an ideal situation for Genie. She seems like the type of player who likes to have stability, & have all her ducks in a row so that she can just concentrate on tennis. If she is reuniting with him just because she is under pressure to get a coach before next season, it does not bode well. Is Wim Fissette available? I read that he & Kvitova had a tryout in Tokyo, but that did not lead to a working relationship. I think he & Genie would work well together because Kim Clijsters had problems with confidence & dealing with pressure, which Genie has now, & he was able to help her deal with those issues, & win multiple Slam titles. Hopefully, their personalities would mesh, although at this point, it is only wishful thinking on my part.

        • Any chance of a tryout with Genie???? (she says hopefully)

          • Is Fissette some of sort of coaching god, or something? I mean, without even knowing him at all, what makes you hopeful?

          • As I stated previously, Clijsters had similar issues to what Genie has now which could help him help her, & there are signs that there could be problems with Hogstedt. Certainly don’t think Fissette is a coaching god, but it couldn’t hurt to give him a try. I really want Genie to get back to her best tennis, & feel she should explore as many possibilities as she can to choose the coach who can bring that out in her, instead of rushing to hire someone just to have one before next season.

          • Kim Clijsters and Genie Bouchard, in my opinion, have about zero in common by any metric you want to measure.

            Hogstedt’s personality is special, but he’s a good coach. It’s all about whether you can take the good and manage the rest. No coach is perfect.

            Fissette seems to have had a lot of tryouts in the last few months and nothing has clicked, so who knows what’s going on there. He spent the last 3 weeks trying out with Sara Errani, so he wasn’t available even if Bouchard were interested. His trial with Kvitova in the fall was, the way I heard it, a disaster.

            He was Clijsters’ coach AFTER she came back from retirement and a baby, having gained maturity and obviously a lot of perspective about exactly how important tennis was in the scheme of things. And before she retired, she was plagued by injuries that definitely held her back. So I’m not sure how much Fissette had to do with it. It should be noted that 3 of the four major finals Clijsters lost before her first retirement were to Justine Henin, who was a better player. The two US Opens Clijsters won after she came back were against … Wozniacki and Zvonereva in the finals. I’m willing to go out in a limb that she would have beaten those opponents with her previous coaches, too.

            Bouchard has a few weeks – she lost a chunk of time in her offseason, so she has no margin to waste trying explore ANY possibilities at all. So in a sense, as I wrote, better the devil you know than one you don’t.

            I’m sure we all remember how it all turned out when she started the 2015 season without a coach. :-O

            The things that have to happen for Bouchard to get back to her best tennis are in large part not coach-dependent.

  5. That seems to be good news, at least from a timing perspective.

Comments are closed.