LONDON: Eugenie Bouchard said she cherishes her 2012 Wimbledon junior title more than her maiden appearance in a Grand Slam final which ended in a rapid-fire 6-3, 6-0 humbling by Petra Kvitova.
The 20-year-old, the first Canadian to play in a Grand Slam singles final, suffered a brutal 55-minute dissection by the 2011 champion from the Czech Republic, temporarily denting her new-found status as the modern poster girl of the sport.
“I still think my junior title was better than this. I think winning a tournament without losing a match is always something special. That was a big moment for me,” said the Montreal native.
“But I appreciate what I’ve done these past few weeks, though and this whole year. I think it comes close.”
Bouchard was playing in only her sixth Grand Slam event and had reached the semi-finals of both the Australian and French Opens this year before her run to the final at Wimbledon.
She also collected her first professional tournament title in Nuremburg in the run-up to Roland Garros and will next week be in the top 10 for the first time.
Her number seven ranking will be a new high for Canada after Carling Bassett had reached a high of eight back in 1985.
“I think it’s a tough road to try to become as good as I want to be no matter what. I’m not going to win every single time. I think this was a good experience for me, my first slam final,” she said.
“I am very motivated to win a Grand Slam. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I feel like I’ve taken steps in the right direction to achieve that. This year I’ve been close in every slam, so I’m just going to keep going.”
Despite her defeat, where she was blasted off court by Kvitova’s heavy artillery of 28 winners in the fastest final in 31 years, the tall, blonde Bouchard is destined for staggering riches.
Her composure, poise and unflinching self-confidence is a magnet for drooling corporate suitors eager for endorsements from the next big thing.
Her agent, Sam Duvall was already tipping her to become the most famous player in the world even before his client had stepped onto Center Court.
“She’s got the personality, she’s got the game, she’s got the looks,” he told the Daily Mail of a woman who is already on the books of Coca-Cola and Nike and has been featured in Vogue.
“She speaks two languages—French and English—and the crossover appeal is great. Aussie fans love her, French fans love her.
“She understands that the better she plays tennis, the more money, the more marketable and the more famous she will be. But it’s all centered on the tennis.”
All that was, however, a long way from the mind of Bouchard who plans to take time off before returning to competition on home ground in Montreal next month.
She was also aiming to treat herself on Saturday night.
“Comfort food is the best. I’ve been eating well recently. I’ll definitely have dessert tonight—I’ll have some brownie or something.”
After two weeks of intense media interest revolving around her mother’s obsession with the British royal family— she and twin sister Beatrice are named after the children of Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II — her fondness for selfies, Justin Bieber and TV show, The Big Bang Theory, there was one last regal enquiry.
Princess Eugenie was in the Royal Box although her Canadian namesake was not able to secure the happy ending the British tabloids were praying for.
“That was crazy. I did see her in the box. I’m very happy that she came out but disappointed I couldn’t put on a better show for her, but I’d love to meet her, of course,” said Bouchard.