Genie Bouchard still hasn’t found a full-time coach to replace the departed Nick Saviano.
But for now, Open Court has learned, she is working with Diego Ayala, a former hitting partner and, briefly, a former coach of Jelena Jankovic.
It appears he’s doing similar double duty with Bouchard – officially a hitting partner, but one with coaching experience.
Ayala is in Perth with Bouchard. As you can see from the photo at right, he has known the 20-year-old Canadian a long time (that pic dates back to 2008).
The 35-year-old, Argentina-born, a former all-American at the University of Miami and a former coach of American Robby Ginepri, worked at Saviano’s academy in Florida for many years – including those years from age 12-15 when Bouchard was there, before she moved back to Montreal and joined Tennis Canada’s national program.
When Bouchard won her first ITF junior tournament in Costa Rica all the way back in 2008, Ayala was with her. It’s a Grade 3 ITF tournament, and Bouchard, then just turned 14, went through the qualifying all the way to the win, defeating Monica Puig in the final.
Bouchard told Open Court during the 2012 Rogers Cup, after she saw Ayala (who was in Montreal with Jankovic that year) for the first time in a long time, that he was her traveling coach for most of the junior tournaments she played when she was based at Saviano’s academy.
He was a hitting partner for Jankovic before being promoted to coach during that 2012 summer season, and is known as a very good sparring partner. He played pro and reached a career high in singles of No. 431. In doubles, his career best was No. 100.
Hopefully someone will ask Bouchard about her coaching situation in Perth. We’re a gazillion miles away. And it is, you know, kind of a big deal.