Eugenie Bouchard: The rise and fall of the world’s most marketable athlete

Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon 2014

Even to those not engrossed by tennis, Eugenie Bouchard is a name the majority of sports fans have come to know.

Having burst onto the global scene as a 20-year-old when she reached the 2014 Wimbledon final, Bouchard was catapulted into stardom.

Endorsement deals came swarming in, public interest heightened and her ranking rose as high as fifth in the world by the end of that calendar year.

Indeed, Bouchard was the new face of Canadian sport. As the country’s first-ever Grand Slam singles finalist, there was suddenly a wave of expectation and a belief the tennis star would only continue to improve.

Voted the WTA’s most improved player in 2014, Bouchard’s extraordinary rise and exuberant personality made her a dream for sponsors.

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She appeared destined for a career among tennis’ elite and a future major champion, but sadly this success has never really materialised.

While 2014 saw the Canadian reach one Grand Slam final and two semis, the following season saw her slip from 7th to 48th in the world rankings.

Bouchard was unfortunate in part –– especially at the US Open, where a fluke concussion rendered her unable to compete in the fourth round. Yet, in truth, a loss of form and confidence were the prevailing factors for this decline.

By 2017, Bouchard had returned to the ITF circuit, but even then she failed to dominate and rediscover her spark.

Eugenie Bouchard

Since 2016, the Montreal born star has failed to reach beyond the third round of any Grand Slam. And, since claiming her solitary WTA title in Nuremberg in 2014, she has failed to win another.

Though her on-court career faltered, the off-court opportunities continued to blossom. Bouchard secured lucrative contracts with Coca-Cola, Rogers Communications and Nike.

In 2015, SportsPro named her the world’s most marketable athlete, ahead of the likes of Neymar, Steph Curry and Usain Bolt to name just a few.

It could be that Bouchard struggled to deal with the strain of balancing a celebrity-esque career with being a professional sportsperson. Russian star Anna Kournikova faced similar issues during her career –– becoming one of the most renowned celebrities in the world after reaching the Wimbledon semi-final in 1997, but never reaching the same stage again.

Sam Smith, a former British number one, believes this is exactly what happened to the Canadian sensation.

“It’s a bit of a script where life came at her pretty quickly with big contracts, big sponsorships, a lot of attention back in Canada, and she just wasn’t ready for it and I don’t think her game was ready for it either,” she told Wide World of Sports.

But what now for the former world number five? Bouchard reached the final of the Abierto Zapopan tournament in Mexico earlier this year but lost to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo. This is as good as it has gotten for the Canadian, however, who is currently ranked 170th in the world.

Still though, the Canadian remains one of only five active tennis players with more than two million followers on Instagram and has not given up on tennis just yet.

And at the age of just 27, she could yet make a resurgence back to the top of the game. It may well have been the same story for years now, but there is time nonetheless.

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