By Michael Hann
MARRIAGE proposals, broken records, pop idols and the small matter of reaching a Wimbledon final, it has been a busy two weeks in southwest London for young Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
The 20-year-old Bouchard is the first Canadian – male or female – to reach a grand slam final and she will come up against sixth seed Petra Kvitova for a chance to win the prestigious Venus Rosewater Dish in the women’s final on Saturday.
Bouchard, whose ‘royalist’ parents named her Eugenie after one of the daughters of Britain’s Prince Andrew, has proved herself to be a brutal, hard-hitting opponent on court, but a charming personality off it and her popularity has even led to marriage proposals from fans on Twitter.
Having reached the semi-finals at both the Australian and French Opens this year, Bouchard, who won the junior title at Wimbledon in 2012, has earned many plaudits for her undoubted ability.
“I think we are going to be hearing even more about her success in the future,” three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said. “There is going to be a lot of majors, I suspect, coming her way.”
The Montreal-born Bouchard, who is a fan of teen idol Justin Bieber, is only in her second year on the professional tour and after making the smooth transition from the junior ranks she hopes that will stand her in good stead for her first major final.
“I feel like I belong, and I’m just so excited for the next match,” said Bouchard who beat French Open runner-up Simona Halep in the semi-finals.
“I know she (Kvitova) obviously likes the grass and has some good weapons, so I will be ready for those. I’ll try to impose my own weapons and game against her.”
While Bouchard is full of youthful exuberance, her Czech opponent Kvitova has the experience of claiming the Wimbledon title after beating Russian Maria Sharapova in 2011.
Since then Kvitova, who beat Bouchard in the duo’s first ever match-up last year, has failed to reach another grand slam final and faced unwanted questions about being a one-hit wonder.
“When I won here in 2011 I needed to change a little bit of myself on the court and off the court,” said the 24-year-old, who beat compatriot Lucie Safarova in the first semi-final on Thursday.
“I know that a lot of people are expecting more from me. But on the other side, I was still in the top 10.
“These three years were really up and down… but I’m definitely ready for a final and I’m going to try my best.”