If you were wondering why Genie Bouchard was Snapchatting Chipotle goodness in Las Vegas Wednesday night instead of being en route to Japan, there’s a reason.
(Update: Bouchard officially out, as of Sunday. To no one’s surprise)
The beleaguered IPTL exhibition league, scaled down, lacking star power (and especially lacking female players) in its third season because of some fairly serious financial issues, is set to begin with sessions at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Friday in Saitama, Japan, just outside Tokyo.
But it’s highly unlikely that Genie Bouchard will make it, even though she is on the schedule to take part in all eight IPTL matches in Japan, Singapore and Hyderabad, India for the Indian Aces.
(Update: she didn’t make it. And during Saturday’s match, she remained in Vegas. The Indian Aces flew in Kirsten Flipkens to replace her; she arrived just a few hours before the team took the court Friday)
Even if Bouchard left Thursday morning, she still would have zero shot at arriving for a 5:30 p.m. Friday showdown against the home favourite Japan Warriors unless she suddenly was gifted with the teleportation superpower. She has many gifts, but as far as we know that’s not one of them.
It seems she will be staying put – at least for now. The word Open Court received from Saitama was that the IPTL was “still in negotiations” with Bouchard to secure her participation. Whatever that means.
It’s reasonable to assume that the 22-year-old Canadian is unlikely to make an appearance during the three weekend matches in Japan – something that will come as a surprise and a disappointment to her Japanese fans.
For her team, the other issue is that there is no other viable player on the Aces to replace her for the singles matches.
For example, with Serena Williams only scheduled to play three matches in all, the Singapore Slammers have a singles backup in Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.
The only other woman on the Aces’ roster is doubles specialist Sania Mirza, who hasn’t played a singles match in 4 1/2 years.
When and if she does arrive, Bouchard will surely be jet-lagged and, from the looks of her off-season so far, seriously out of practice.
We’ll update with more information as we receive it.