Eugenie Bouchard might have seen her dream run at the Australian Open come to an end at the hands of Li Na at the semi-final stage but that has not put an end to her being a favourite of fans who watch live tennis online.
The 19-year-old was flying under the radar ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, despite being named the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2013 following a highly successful first full season on the tour. However, it took an excellent win over Ana Ivanovic before everyone finally sat up and took notice of the Canadian.
Now the 2012 junior Wimbledon champion has everyone’s attention, the next step is what she is going to do with it. Already her agent Sam Duvall is talking about a series of sponsorship deals, claiming she has the potential to make more than the world’s richest sportswoman, Maria Sharapova. The Russian earned £15million last year according to Forbes magazine and Bouchard will do well to get anywhere near that in her time on court.
Unlike some in the past, Sharapova’s commercial success hasn’t come at the price of success on the court, and that is clearly what Bouchard will be aiming for. The world number 19 certainly doesn’t want to be the next Anna Kournikova or Ivanovic, who are both better known for being pin ups than tennis talents right now.
Bouchard has talent, no doubt about that, but it will be how she progresses from her run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open that will decide how far she goes in this sport. Despite defeating her in straight sets in Melbourne, Bouchard’s conquer Li Na believes she has the ability to go all the way to the top.
“Maybe she will be the best player in the world,” said the Chinese superstar.
Li is certainly well equipped to make that judgement having come against many of the favourites in the betting markets but we shouldn’t get carried away. Tennis is full of players who flew out of the traps but couldn’t build upon their initial success, Jelena Dokic being the perfect example given the success she had a teenager.
For now, Bouchard needs to put the ‘Genie Army’ and celebrity fan Justin Bieber to one side and focus on her game, or risk being just another pretty face amongst the crowd.