June 18, 2024

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Vid: Bouchard hits Fed Cup practice court

MONTREAL – Genie Bouchard’s travel plans from California home to Montreal  Monday were thwarted somewhat by an inconvenient ice storm that wreaked havoc with the airline schedules.

But she made it.

And on Wednesday morning, the 24-year-old hit the practice court at the newly-named Stade IGA indoor facility in Montreal to start preparing for Canada’s World Group II playoff tie against Ukraine this weekend.

The red carpet was rolled out for Bouchard. Her last Fed Cup appearance goes back three long years. It was in the same city, with the same stakes. But the end result of that one was a 3-2 defeat against Romania in which Bouchard lost both her singles matches.

Red-carpet treatment

The court was well populated. In addition to Bouchard and Fed Cup captain Sylvain Bruneau, there were two hitting partners: Tennis Canada boys’ coach Jocelyn Robichaud (a former top junior and Tour player) and Samuel Monette.

A month older than Bouchard, Monette is at a career-high ranking this week at No. 443. A year removed from a four-year career as an Indiana Hoosier, he’s just back from six weeks on the road playing Futures and Challengers. 

As well, a Tennis Canada physio and massage therapist, and Bouchard’s personal trainer Scott Byrnes, were on hand.

Bouchard planned a second practice later in the day. But she was out there at 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. California time, despite the jet lag, And she appeared in good spirits.

Here’s what it looked like.

Someone in Bouchard’s downtown apartment building already had some advice for the 24-year-old, whose Montreal vehicle clearly has been gathering dust over the winder.

Just got to my car in Montreal and noticed someone took the liberty of writing some tactics on my hood 😂 #champmentality pic.twitter.com/dGfpz4eAeV

— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) April 18, 2018

Team Ukraine hard at work

Team Ukraine was practicing on the neighbouring match court, a concoction of aluminum and screws set up at the back of the 12-court indoor complex. It will seat a modest 1,500.

Tennis Canada has set up bigger arenas for previous Fed Cup ties. But in the absence of Bouchard despite hope on a few occasions, it took the safe road. At any rate, trying to find a larger-sized hockey arena on short notice is a major challenge at this time of the year.

And with the top two players Quebecers – and with Tennis Canada seeming to make a habit now of holding the ties here – this was probably the best solution they could find.

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