In many ways, the proud nation of Canada is due a globally-recognised sporting superstar. Although she may be relatively young in terms of her development, tennis sensation Eugiene Bouchard may be well placed to take on this role while also serving as a role-model for aspiring professionals and the younger generation of amateurs.
She recently continued her progression with one of the biggest wins of her burgeoning career, ousting world number eight Jelena Jankovic with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
victory. This represents a significant stepping stone for the starlet, primarily because it showcases her ability to compete at the highest level over three sets.
The rise and rise of Eugiene Bouchard transcends the singular sport of tennis, however, as it also has implications for the next generation of aspiring Canadian sports stars. To understand this, you need only see how the success of Chinese tennis star Li Na has inspired youngsters throughout Asia, as the two-time Grand Slam winner continues to set the benchmark for youthful sporting excellence ad achievement.
Much more than this, however, she also serves as a role model that huge number of younger citizens can identify with as they plot a path towards future success in their chosen field.
While Canada may not be as large as China, it is similar in that it takes its sporting pursuits extremely seriously. In this respect, its successful sports stars carry a heavy and potentially cumbersome burden, as they must balance their own expectations alongside those of an entire nation.
While the level responsibility is considerable, however, so too is the potential influence that players like Bouchard and Na have on advancing their sport and inspiring youngsters. As a result of this, these individuals have a unique opportunity to transcend their sport and become globally recognised icons.
Of course, there are many differences that continue to separate Bouchard and Na. While Na is a former badminton player who became the first ever Chinese tennis professional to reach a Grand Slam final, Bouchard herself is the latest in a comparitively long line of Canadian stars.
Bouchard also appears to have more natural ability, as her key asset remains her capacity to take shots early and use her opponents pace against them. This offers a insight into her striking technique and reaction times, which are hard to teach and often owe much to innate characteristics.
With this in mind, Bouchard has a key role to play in enhancing the future of Canadian sport. Her potential influence may well transcend sport in the current social climate, however, especially with an estimated two in three Canadian adults now categorised as being clinically obese.
So as everyday citizens struggle with over-eating and questions such as 'are there benefits to alkaline water?', the presence of an identifiable and instantly recognisable sporting sensation can provide motivation and inspiration to an entire generation.
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