The Woman of Wimbledon: Genie Bouchard Is a Refreshingly Confident Canadian

With a straight sets defeat of Simona Halep on Thursday, Bouchard will appear in her first-ever Grand Slam final on Saturday in London.

Genie Bouchard covers up at a soaked Roland Garros

Genie Bouchard covers up at a soaked Roland Garros



*Originally published on White Cover Magazine

Eugenie Bouchard is refreshing. Not really for tennis, because there have been female supernovas in the sport before and there have been beautiful ones, too, like Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic.

But she’s refreshing for Canada.

It’s not just that she’s already the greatest female player in the Great White North’s tennis history. It’s that she’s just so wicked, so composed, so confident, so unapologetic and expecting of her success… she’s do damn un–Canadian.

Our nation has flirted with being cool and being American (in the good ways, like Hollywood or Hawaii) at times, patting ourselves on the back and being loud and proud of our home cooking during the 2010 Winter Olympics, when the red and white won a record 14 gold medals in Vancouver, when we were so into ourselves that some jackass in Texas compared us to Hitler’s Germany. We’re more than happy to boast about our country’s invention of the game of hockey, our breeding of men like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr. We’ll gladly remind any Yankee close enough that we invented basketball, that we beat them in one odd 150-metre race they have conveniently forgotten, and that we gave them Mike Myers and Ryan Gosling and Lorne Michaels. We’ll even keep Justin Bieber in our back pocket, just in case he’s cool once again someday.

But all of those above are exceptions to the stereotype we often deserve. By bringing then, we’re almost throwing ourselves further away from them, reminding whoever we’re telling them to that it’s really not us.

Normally, we’re polite… hell, we’re too polite. We say ‘Sorry’ and all that, like, all the time. We’re goofy and underpopulated. But we’ll keep it that way. We’re small town but we’ve got wide borders.

We’re also small-minded – our greatest moments in anything not hockey are one-off events like Mike Weir’s Masters or Donovan Bailey’s gold medal or Larry Walker’s MVP. Even the Bluenose and that time we burned down the White House in the War of 1812. (Yeah, we actually brag about that, Detroit.)

But then along comes Genie Bouchard.

A lot of Canadians have pretended to be all-business, but Genie’s not even thinking about what happened yesterday, not even entertaining the idea of a loss tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next.

There’s nothing on purpose about her purpose.

“I felt like, it should have happened a game earlier,” she said on Thursday, when asked what she was thinking when she clinched her first-ever appearance in a Grand Slam final, at Wimbledon.

Yes, she was thinking about the game or two she gave back, even after beating Simona Halep in straight sets, 7-6 and then 6-2.

“You know, it’s not a surprise to me. I expect good results like this… For me, I was like, ‘Okay good.’ It’s a step in the right direction. I get to play in the final. And, you know, I still have another match so it’s not a full celebration yet.”

Sure, we’ve heard our athletes say stuff like that before. But doesn’t it always feel like they’re just saying it?

In ice hockey, Crosby always says confident things, stuff about giving 110 percent or playing as a team or it’s not over until it’s over and whatever else he’s been told to say. But it was Ovechkin who came into the league at age 19 and said his favourite NHL player was himself. It was Ryan Kesler who beaked his own goalie – Roberto Luongo – on national television during the Canada-USA gold medal game in 2010. It was Michael Johnson who challenged Bailey to that race way back when.

And although most of those swagger-y examples above weren’t followed by wins, don’t you just sometimes wish we Canadians could be the cocky ones?

Don’t you just wish we could have a Muhammad Ali, the kind of athlete who doesn’t stop talking because he – or she – knows he – or she – can back it up?

Well…

“I get to make history again,” Bouchard vibrantly giggled in London, previewing her final on Saturday. “It’s always exciting and special when I can make history.”

Man, she’s so cool.

Every time she spoke on Thursday, she had this wide, beaming smile, like she knew herself what she had just accomplished, like she sees what we all see when we see her, whether she’s owning another player on the court or controlling a room of frothing journalists at the All-England Club.

She even finds time to slide those little Canadian-isms into every quote of hers, the “you know” and “like” and the “yeah, so” and that faint but noticeable accent all of us Canucks have.

She wears an oversized hoodie, with the sleeves comfortably stretched over her palms, like Barney Stinson wears a suit.

Even her answers to questions about Justin Bieber, those look like they’re more annoying for her to deal with than anything, but she answers them and she gives the masses what they want – like she’s just tossing those reporters a quote or two she knows they’ll love, not unlike you give a seagull a bread crumb when you want it to stop following you, maybe not knowing that will – of course – only give it more reason to follow you.

When one reporter asked her today whether her breakthrough at Wimbledon was like her big bang, referencing Bouchard’s supposed favourite show – The Big Bang Theory – the 20-year-old only paused to laugh at the dude’s expense before she shut him and his silly little mind down.

“Someone made that really lame joke a few days ago,” she said. “And I called him out on it, so I’m going to have to say that was really lame. Again.”

Fair enough. But then again, can you blame the guy?

The entire tennis world is a puddle at her feet right now. They don’t know what to say to this perfect post-teenager with the world in her hand.

Or her racket, rather.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read