Memo to Genie Bouchard: It’s time to step up and behave like a future champion.
There’s no denying that losing is a brutal affair, a major disappointment. It gets even worse when it’s a loss to someone like Maria Sharapova, who many have said you resemble in many ways. A rivalry of sorts has been created between the two of you as one-sided to her advantage as it seems to be at this point and time.
On Tuesday at the Australian Open, Sharapova basically beat up on you, leaving you in a defensive position where you couldn’t figure out how to score a win. Sharapova’s serve was on and without that worry she hit out, deep and hard, at every shot. In contrast Genie, your serve left you wanting, you were hitting shots off your back foot, and you didn’t have you’re groove on. Proof of the pudding: You posted 30 unforced errors and were broken four times as Maria came up with a swift 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal win.
So what did you do? Did you go to the net, look Maria right in the eye and tell her well played with a firm handshake. Oh no, you didn’t. You looked away from Maria and displayed a facial expression that anyone could read – annoyance that seemed to say, “Really, I have to shake her hand?” Meanwhile, there was Maria looking straight at the side of your head. That’s a double fault reaction in the department of being a graceful loser.
The good news is that at 20 you’re young and you should be able to learn to take losses as your portfolio of wins continues to grow. The talent is there, no question, or there wouldn’t have been the Grand Slam semifinals – one in Australia – and Wimbledon final apppearance last year. But you’re still a half-baked champion who is in need of some further game and attitude polishing.
Next time you take a tough loss, step up and handle it like a champion, no matter who it’s against. You’ll feel better about yourself, you really will.
As you head back to Canada I know there’s a debate going on in your head as to who should be your new coach. I wish I had some options to recommend but I really don’t know. So many of the former stars or tried-and-true coaches are currently taken.
I do have one more bit of advice. Apparently you’re contemplating whether to play Fed Cup or not the weekend after next in Quebec City. I say if you’re not injured play for your country. It’s the first round tie of note against the defending champion Czech Republic. The matches and the occasion, regardless of the outcome, only has upside for you in your continue march towards potential greatness.