Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Princess Diaries

July 5, 2014--got my ass kicked, 6-3 6-0 by Kvitova in Wimbledon final

July 15, 2014--IMG wants me!

July 24, 2014--withdrew from Citi Open with French Open knee injury

August 2, 2014--Genie Army lands in Montreal with new song!

August 5, 2014--got my ass kicked 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 by Shelby Rogers in Montreal second round

Many years ago, when I was in the public relations business, my business card was somewhat of a collector's item because in small print, on the bottom, were the words Hype Springs Eternal. It does. The hype machine has damaged players before; in fact, Petra Kvitova comes to mind right away. The charming and somewhat introverted Czech star didn't really know how to handle being looked at by the world as The Wimbledon Champion in 2011. It took her three years to win Wimbledon again, and when she did, she beat the young woman who is now the hype machine's number 1 victim.

Hailed as "the next Sharapova," Genie Bouchard has rightly stated that she doesn't want that comparison. "I don't want to be the next someone," she said recently, "I want to be the first of me." I have never liked the comparison, partly because I don't like those kind of comparisons, but also because I don't think there are many young players made of the stuff that Sharapova is made of. Sharapova is as tough as they make them. Bouchard is tough, I think, but not yet tough in a Sharapova sense.

Bouchard pulled out of the Citi Open for somewhat vague medical reasons (a common enough action in pro tennis) that seemingly had to do with a knee injury she sustained during the French Open. A very big deal was made of her Rogers Cup participation, and that big deal was wiped out rather emphatically earlier this evening when Shelby Rogers put on a serving show that sent Bouchard packing in the second round (she had a bye in the first).

No one (except Bouchard) can say for sure exactly what went wrong tonight. For one thing, Rogers was the anti-Bouchard: She was cool and focused, even when she lost the second set. She gets all credit. But as good as Rogers was, it was obvious that Bouchard was giving Rogers plenty to feel confident about. The Canadian star "wasn't feeling it," as commentators like to say. How much does the excessive hype have to do with that? Some, you can be sure.


sunny nine said...

I am not sure Bouchard is completely on the train yet but yes, it looks like being in the very public eye could be affecting her. A comparison: Halep lost the French final in 3 sets (was not whipped), then made the semis of Wimbledon and then won her home event of Bucharest. Halep has not become an "it " girl since being a 1st time Major finalist. She does not have the long blonde hair but she seems to be just plain happy to be where she is, happy she won her home tournament (an international) and very happy to be wearing adidas.

It is difficult to know where Bouchard is at the moment but the loss looked horribly excruciating no matter why she lost.

Sabey said...

It could be hype but also the pressure of so many Quebecoise desperate for a win. Maybe it's something like Sam Stosur at the Aussie open.

Diane said...

Oh absolutely. It's a vicious cycle, with all the hype leading to expectation, leading to pressure leading to more "news"!

Eric said...


From an article:
Allaster said, "[Bouchard] really engages with the fans. We just have to look that the Genie's Army has flown here from Australia to support her here at home in Montréal..."

Genie engages with fans? ...Genie is solely focused on tennis... and there's nothing wrong with that...but her "popularity" is not bc she's actively engaging with fans. Her looks and her intense attitude are what draw in her fans.

An example of an engaging player would be Jankovic or Petkovic. Their personality brings fans.

Sometimes I don't know about Stacey Allaster...yes, she's a woman and she does a good job...but sometimes, her sensibilities are kind of male chauvinist. I'm trying to think of another example, bc I remember feeling this way before...but nothing is coming to mind. Do you know what i'm talking about? If not, just disregard this comment.

I'm not sure if I used chauvinist right...

Eric said...

And must all of the support groups be armies? It's so militant... and not very creative. Why can't there be something akin to the J-Block or Sam-urai on the women's tour (only less rude)?

Like a group called the Petkorazzi for Petkovic...etc.


Shelby Rogers has a great serve.

Diane said...

Well, as I've said before, any woman in this century who still calls herself a "chairman" (and whose organization still calls the chairwoman a chairman) troubles me.

And you might recall how upset I was about Allaster's "grunt-o-meter" idea because women and girls need one more device or procedure to invade and measure their bodies. I found the idea offensive because of all that women and girls have gone through--from virginity testing to mandatory weighing of flight attendants to Playboy's "gynecological" exams to the current obsession with sports "gender" testing.

The WTA and the tennis press have invented a property called Genie Bouchard. I suspect this is partly because Bouchard is so child-like in her appearance (her face hasn't really formed yet) that anyone can project anything onto her very easily.

She is a very good tennis player and athlete, but most cultures (as far as I know--all cultures) don't put much value at all on athleticism in women. If the WTA would start marketing women as athletes instead of being part of the system that refuses to value female athletes, that would be great. But, in the words of Vika "she doesn't fit in with our markting plan" Azarenka, "Good luck with that."

I think I answered your question :D

The "army" thing is really kind of interesting in that women are generally not described in warrior-like ways. Before one of the majors last year, ESPN did a great "warrior going into battle" piece with Li Na and whoever she was playing--I forget. That was one of the few times that female athletes have been named "warriors."

As for the fan base, it is kind of militant, but I'm happy just to have something about female athletes that can be equated with the warrior image :)

Eric said...

Why are we voting for Simona Halep to be a "rising star of the month" on the WTA site?

Simona Halep is already a star.

The other contenders are Kurumi Nara and Elina Svitolina, who have both made inroads recently, but are not at all in the same class (in terms of accomplishments) as Simona Halep.

Diane said...

Oh, Eric, there you go trying to get the WTA to make sense!