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Eugenie Bouchard Embraces Pickleball: A New Sporting Chapter

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By Jacob Jackson

Eugenie “Genie” Bouchard, a Canadian professional tennis player, burst onto the tennis scene in 2014 when she reached the Wimbledon finals at just 20 years old. After early success, Bouchard struggled with injuries and rankings in tennis in recent years. Now, at 28 years old, Bouchard has decided to take on a new challenge – professional pickleball. The rising racket sport has quickly attracted her attention and fierce competitiveness.

Background Story

Eugenie Bouchard’s professional tennis career has certainly seen its up and downs. She reached a career-high ranking of World No. 5 in 2014 after her Wimbledon success. But in 2015 and 2016, Bouchard endured injuries, coaching changes, and subsequent poor performances that caused her ranking to plummet. Despite qualifying for the Olympics in 2021, Bouchard considered retirement from professional tennis afterward.

Eugenie Bouchard
Sportskeeda

Seeking a new opportunity, Bouchard was introduced to pickleball in early 2022 by her trainer. Pickleball, played on a smaller court with paddles and a plastic ball, was growing rapidly in North America. After hitting her first few balls, Eugenie Bouchard was instantly drawn in by the fast-paced, strategic gameplay. She saw potential to challenge herself in a new sport, while taking advantage of her strong tennis abilities.

Switch to Pickleball

By summer 2022, Bouchard decided to fully dive into professional pickleball. She quickly acquired several top sponsors like Wilson and was training intently. “I love the creative strategy and entertaining energy of pickleball,” Bouchard stated. Her goal was to climb the pro rankings and win a major tournament within her first year.

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Though new to pickleball, Bouchard’s tennis skills transferred well. Her groundstrokes, volleys, and serves were forces to be reckoned with. Eugenie Bouchard also put work into understanding pickleball strategy and adapting her game. Her competitive spirit was reinvigorated in the process.

Rankings and Winnings

Bouchard’s first professional pickleball tournament was in November 2022. After just a few events, she rocketed up the rankings and was named Newcomer of the Year by the Professional Pickleball Association. By March 2023, Eugenie Bouchard had already reached World No. 50 and claimed two tournament wins.

Her impressive early showings have also earned Bouchard over $30,000 in prize money so far. She scored a commanding win at the Austin Open in April. “My first few months have shown that I can compete with the top players,” said an optimistic Bouchard. With continued training and experience, she aims to be a championship contender by the end of 2023.

Eugenie Bouchard Pickleball
Sportskeeda

Sponsored

Eugenie Bouchard’s fame and marketability have also attracted ample sponsorship deals in pickleball. Wilson became her paddle sponsor, while Nike provides her apparel. She has brand partnerships with several health companies as well. The sponsorship deals have allowed Bouchard to focus on training full-time.

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“I want to help bring more attention and interest to this fun, competitive sport,” she said. With her large social media following, Eugenie Bouchard hopes to encourage more female athletes to take up pickleball too. Her sponsors are excited by the prospect of her becoming a superstar in this up-and-coming game.

FAQs

Bouchard’s leap into a new sport has left many tennis fans curious. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Why did Bouchard switch to pickleball from tennis?

After injuries and waning motivation, she found herself drawn to pickleball’s quick rallies and technical play. She welcomed the chance to compete in a new sport.

Will she return to professional tennis in the future?

Bouchard remains open to playing some tennis tournaments, but pickleball is now her priority. She has immersed herself fully in training for pro pickleball events

What are her future goals in pickleball?

Bouchard has said her goal is to become World No. 1 and win several majors over the next few years. She also aims to grow her personal brand through pickleball.

Conclusion

Eugenie Bouchard’s sudden rise in professional pickleball has been impressive and rapid. Her background as a tennis star has undoubtedly provided a strong foundation. But her intense training, adaptable skills, and determination to succeed in pickleball have been key. At just 28, her best playing years may still be ahead.

While it’s early in Bouchard’s young pickleball career, she has proven she can compete with the world’s best. Her cocky confidence and court presence from tennis have already shaken up the pickleball scene. If Bouchard continues her dedicated training regimen, focuses on strategic adjustments, and avoids injuries, she could soon become a pickleball star. For now, Eugenie Bouchard embracing this new sport journey has been an exciting development for her career and the growth of pro pickleball overall.

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