Post-match press conference of Eugenie Bouchard after she defeated the home favourite Indian, Karman Kaur Thandi, in straight sets [6-2, 7-6(2)] at R2 of the Chennai Open WTA 250 tournament 2022. Indian Tennis Daily member Srividya Balayogi was part of the press conference.
Q) Can you talk about the match, if you can tell about your performance and how you thought the game was, and also you were down 2-5, what were you thinking? Were you trying to avoid going to the third set and tried to close it out in straight sets?
I think I played very solid in the first set and I had a little bit of a dip in my play in the second. She [Karman] started controlling the points more, especially with her forehand and I think the quality of my ball went down and I was giving her time to dominate the point and that’s not my game style. So, I just tried to stay calm and put emotions to the side even though I was down 2-5 and just focussed on one point at a time. And I’m proud of myself for how I was able to just fight back.
Q) Did you feel any pressure while playing with an audience who were hugely in favour of Karman?
Well, I was hoping the crowd cheering for her would put pressure on her and not me. I did feel a lot of the crowd for her and not me. You know, it’s to be expected. She’s an Indian player, she’s playing really well, and we’re in India. It just made a great atmosphere for the match. Obviously, I prefer if people are more for me, but it’s how it goes. It’s just part of something that you need to deal with in a match.
Q) In the second set , it was definitely a very difficult set that you were playing. Where do you think that match turned for you?
I just tried to kind of get over a couple of games I played really bad from 3-2 to 5-2, a lot of unforced errors and I just tried to work at that right away and tried to ascend, tried to play better. Even if I lose this game, and it goes to a third set, it’s okay. But I wanted to play my game and play the right way. And once I started doing that and actually started winning and luckily I didn’t have to go to a third set.
Q) How does it feel to be in a comeback and having this sort of momentum? How is that going to affect your game going forward?
It feels great, I’m grateful that I can win matches and I’ve got two in a row now. It’s been a long process to get back to this stage, so I’m proud of myself for all the work that it took to get here. And also, i’m happy I can show myself that i can still do it and get a little bit of confidence from winning matches. I just want to keep going one match at a time, one tournament at a time, and enjoy that journey of coming back.
Q) In the on-court interview you said something about sweat management, what’s the sort of fluid intake before, after and during the match?
Yes, we lose a lot of fluid here. So it’s important to already start the match hydrated. I add salt to all of my drinks as well, as I sweat a lot. So, I lose a lot of sodium. It’s just about staying on top of that fluid intake during the match and then dealing with the sweat. A lot of towels and I use this stuff that makes your hands become dry because I need to grip the racket. Just all these little things you try to do. It adds an element to the match, things you have to focus on that don’t even have to do with tennis. It’s just another challenge out there.
Q) Your opponent Karman has been ranked as high as 196 in the world. Were you surprised by her level and that she hasn’t made it in the top 100?
I don’t know her history but i do think she [Karman] is a good player. And I think she can be and should be ranked higher than she is right now. She has a lot of upsides and if she consistently puts together performances like she did tonight, I’m sure she is better than what she is ranked right now.
Q) How do you motivate yourself in tough conditions?
I live and train in Florida, it’s tough conditions, especially in the summer, it’s very humid and hot. It is worse here, I’m not going to lie but I’m somewhat used to it. It’s just part of the game. I know what I signed up for when I decided to become a professional tennis player. So, tough conditions are part of it, and I like challenging myself and like dealing with adversity. And that’s definitely what we have to deal with here?
Q) You kept asking for fresh balls during serves, was it because of the sweat?
Yes, if the ball in my skirt has been there for a couple points, which is good, it means I’ve hit first serves and i haven’t hit a second serve. After a while, I’ll be like, I should probably change this. Because, it will have absorbed some sweat. It’s pretty gross. But it’s what we have to do.
Q) A couple of days ago Jimmy Connnors sent out a tweet to you. You guys have been friends for a while. Can you just tell us about how that friendship came about and what it means to have a legend like him in your corner?
Yeah, I love Jimmy. I loved him as a player. I loved how he was kind of, you know, had such a big personality and character. He was kind of out there, you know, and I see a little bit of that in myself. I first connected with him back in 2015, he helped me before the US open and we’ve been in touch since then. I saw his tweet the other day. I haven’t spoken to him recently, but I was happy to see him tweet that. So I’m going to reach out to him. It’s cool to have that support. He was very helpful when we worked together.
Q) How has it been playing doubles here?
I decided to play doubles because I want more matches. I haven’t played many matches in the past year and a half. And so, to me, playing a doubles match is still better than practice because you get that stress of a real match. Even though I’m more of a singles player and it’s doubles, it’s great practice and it just helps dealing with the pressure at my match. So that’s why I’m playing. I had a great partner this week and we had fun yesterday, so hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.