MONTREAL – It was never in doubt, right?
As the part of the Fed Cup draw ceremony that involved handshakes and photographs drew near, the suspense built.
Would Genie Bouchard shake her opponent’s hand for the cameras, as she had failed to do on two previous such occasions at home?
Would there be awkwardness? Would the photos be beamed around the tennis world and a hush and a gasp fall over the large crowd in the downtown hotel salon?
It was third time lucky for Bouchard, who also had the presence of mind to notice that the teams were on opposite sides of their country names on the drawboard.
And so she shepherded her Saturday opponent, Kateryna Bondarenko, to the other side as the photographers gathered.
Then – not being all that well-versed in the protocol, of course – she asked someone, “Am I supposed to shake her hand?
And then, she held out her hand, and Bondarenko shook it. And they both had beautiful smiles.
Here’s how it all went down.
And that was that. Both seemed to come out of it unscathed. And, it likely will have no bearing at all on the outcome of the match.
Potential diplomatic crisis averted
A potential crisis was averted as Ukraine No. 1 Lesia Tsurenko pointed out that they were supposed to also have handshakes and photos with the reverse singles pairings.
In other words, Bouchard with Tsurenko, and Françoise Abanda with Bondarenko.
Amid the confusion, for whatever reason, that idea was abandoned as the teams gathered for the group shots.
So now … on to the tennis!