After 10 years, Eugenie Bouchard returns to play in Bogotá. The Canadian tennis player, who makes her debut today around noon against the Swiss Ylena In-Albon at the start of the Colsanitas Cup, arrives with the weight of being the most popular on the women’s circuit, due to its 2.4 million followers on Instagram, and the one that has reached the furthest in the world ranking of all those present, for its fifth place obtained in 2014.

Mostly affected by injuries, Bouchard has not been able to resume the level that projected her as one of the best in the world. And although in her country they find an explanation for her current position 325 in the ranking in her role as a model and influencer, she points out to EL TIEMPO that despite being an influencer, her priority continues to be the tennis.

(You can read: Juan Pablo Montoya: ‘I do not regret having left Formula 1’).

Bouchard, the tennis player ‘influencer’

The tennis player Eugenie Bouchard.

Last year you played again after a year and a half… How have you felt on this return to the courts?

It feels great. It has definitely been a very long road, longer and tougher than I expected, but I am very excited to be racing again. As a tennis player, you spend a lot of time alone, and with rehabilitation, even more, that’s why it’s so good to be able to return to play in front of the public once again.

During that forced break he was a television commentator in the United States. What do you think she has brought from that experience to his career?

I loved my time working with the Tennis Channel last spring. The truth is, I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun to see tennis from another perspective.

Despite being an active player and not retired, as legally seen in these spaces…

Clear! As an athlete the impact was also hard, I will not deny that it did not kill me to see everyone competing on the court, winning games while I was not able to participate due to my injury.

In the end he returned, and in Bogotá he will have his third tournament of 2023. What expectations do you have?
(Sigh) To be honest, I don’t have high expectations of myself. I feel very grateful to be able to be 100 percent healthy and ready to compete. I am very happy because I have been able to play tournaments and in Bogotá I am anxious to play several matches.

The last time he came to Bogotá was 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then…

Yeah, the year after I was here I had the best season of my career. I have very good memories of the last trip to Bogotá, because until then I had never played at altitude. I love Bogotá as a city and I can’t believe that, after everything I’ve experienced, it’s back.

She has suffered complex injuries and those flashes with which she became the fifth best in the world have not returned. What does she think she has been missing?

The injuries have been brutal in the last couple of years. At the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 I reached finals at the WTA in Istanbul and Guadalajara and I felt that I had returned to that level that had made me reach grand slam finals and semifinals in the past, but unfortunately my body could not take it. . I am confident that I can still return to my best tennis.

Sport is his great passion, but today he is more popular because of what happens outside the courts…

Yeah… well, I think I was one of the first gamers to come of age in the social media generation. Maybe that’s why some of my interests, like modeling, or my hobbies off the court, like my social media, have been more prominent than those of other tennis players. However, I always say it, for me tennis has been the priority.

The impact of her figure is also measured by all the news that has emerged from her personal life. She raffled off a date with a fan in the midst of a pandemic…, for example.

(Laughter) That raffle thing was for a charitable cause, but I had also done it before for a bet on the Super Bowl. It is also that in the midst of the injuries I have been able to see more of my family and friends. With my twin sister, who hadn’t celebrated a birthday together for eight years, we finally met again. I know that when I retire from tennis I will have more time to spend with all of them.

But tennis is still the main thing, right?

That’s right, I still have a lot to give yet.

And what would be the goal this year?

Have a whole season with health!

ANDRES FELIPE BALAGUERA SARMIENTO
SPORTS JOURNALIST EL TIEMPO

In networks: @balagueraaaa

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