Is Eugenie Bouchard walking away from tennis dream to play a rival sport?
Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard has been struggling to make her way back to the top of tennis after a series of injuries derailed her career and now she appears to have given up on her dream of a comeback.
Bouchard, who reached the Wimbledon final in 2014, was tipped to be one of the biggest stars in the women’s game as she became a huge success on and off the court.
She was also a semi-finalist at the Australian Open and French Open that year, as well as reaching the fourth round at the US Open in 2014 and 2015, sparking a huge interest in the Canadian star.
Her marketing potential ensured she collected a host of major sponsors in the opening years of her career, but she has struggled to stay fit in recent years.
Junior Wimbledon champion in 2012, Bouchard has failed to make a mark in tennis after her ranking slipped and now she has confirmed she will join the increasingly popular pickleball world tour next year.
The announcement was made on the official IBE Pickleball website, with Bouchard their biggest signing so far:
“With one of the biggest signings of the year ✍️ Genie Bouchard, professional tennis star with a WTA No 5 career high in singles, joins the PPA Tour in 2024!”
At the age of 29, Bouchard’s move will be a blow to tennis, even though she has failed to shine on the WTA Tour in recent months.
She missed out in qualifying for this year’s US Open and has failed to come through qualifying in most of the events she has played this year.
Despite her lack of success on the court, she continues to have a huge social media following and has over 2.4m followers on Instagram.
While the statement confirming her move to pickleball suggested she would be playing full-time, Bouchard has yet to confirm whether she will also continue to play tennis next year.
Bouchard has yet to make any comment on the sporting switch, but she did post the pickleball announcement on her social media feed when the deal was announced.
WHAT IS PICKLEBALL?
* A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet.
* In pickleball, the same court is used for both singles and doubles play.
* The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the “kitchen”).
* Courts can be constructed specifically for pickleball or they can be converted using existing tennis or badminton courts.
* While it resembles tennis and table tennis, the hard plastic ball used in pickleball produces less bounce than tennis balls.
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