Genie Bouchard’s Australian Open preparation will consist of only one official match.
The 19-year-old from Westmount dropped a 6-4, 6-3 decision to canny American Bethanie Mattek-Sands Monday in the first round of the Apia Sydney International.
It was one of those matches that wasn’t as close as that score indicates; Bouchard was a point away from going down 1-5 in the second set before briefly rallying. She really seemed to never quite be in it.
Even hitting coach Joe Sirianni, out on a coaching consult after the first set, counseled her to “keep her mind on the court.”
Bouchard appeared lethargic, on a hot day that had both women going to the ice towels from the very start.
She sprayed errors all over the court. She double-faulted five times in the second set and barely showed any emotion at all – even when she hit a good shot, or when she seized a bit of momentum back later in the second set.
And when it was done, she hustled off the court in about 20 seconds flat.
Meanwhile, opponent Mattek-Sands, rocking plaid shorts and her usual high socks, seemed to be having a great old time. And she played great old tennis, too.
Bouchard faced some quality opposition at the Hopman Cup event last week – and put up a great effort against both Samantha Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska.
But that event is an exhibition; the opponents were true, but the format isn’t and the match pressure isn’t the same.
Bouchard will, however, be seeded at the Australian Open for the very first time when the tournament gets under way next week.
(Screen grabs from tennistv.com)