Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Self-described ‘nerd’ Eugenie Bouchard making star turn at Wimbledon

With TV-star friends watching her at Centre Court, the teenager who says 'my favourite class was math class' in school is solidifying her rise as one of tennis' next big things.
Eugenie Bouchard reacts after winning her singles fourth-round match against Alize Cornet on Monday at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Glyn Kirk / AFP / June 30, 2014
Eugenie Bouchard reacts after winning her singles fourth-round match against Alize Cornet on Monday at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Glyn Kirk / AFP / June 30, 2014
Confident, assertive and blonde, Eugenie Bouchard is the Canadian golden girl of Wimbledon, a marketing man’s dream who was named after a British princess.

She has the tennis world at her feet, but deep down she insists she’s just a Teddy-bear collecting nerd with a liking for mathematics.

That explains the presence of US actor Jim Parsons in the players box during her Centre Court fourth round win over Alize Cornet on Monday.

Parsons is Dr Sheldon Cooper, the aloof, super-nerd with a love of physics, computer games and comic books and a social misfit’s distaste for all things human in the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory”.

“It’s my favourite show. So many unexpected things, you just burst out laughing. It’s less stressful to watch than, say, like a movie on a war or something,” said 20-year-old Bouchard, the first Canadian woman in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in the Open Era.

“Jim Parsons’ character Sheldon is my favourite. He’s so nerdy. He’s so smart and set in his ways.

“I do have a little bit of the nerd in me. When I was in school, my favourite class was math class. I was very determined to try to get 100 per cent on all my math tests. I think that kind of self-discipline translates to tennis.”

Bouchard and Parsons became friends around a year ago in what she describes as a “random pairing”.

He is a regular spectator at her matches and he was also on hand Saturday when Bouchard defeated Andrea Petkovic to make the last 16.

“He’s emailed me after every single match I’ve played. He’s more positive than all of my team combined. So it’s a refreshing change to get a nice email with exclamation marks and smiley faces,” said Bouchard.

“We talk about the mental aspect in tennis. He says how it’s similar to him acting. He has to be in the moment on set and all these things. It’s interesting to see how similar the mentality is in different careers.”

Bouchard has also been a focus for the royalty-obsessed British media at Wimbledon and Monday, with the Royal Box...well, full of royalty..., was no exception.

The Duke of Kent, the president of the All England Club, watched Bouchard, as did his brother, Prince Michael of Kent and the Countess of Wessex, the wife of Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II.

Bouchard was named after the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, while her sister was named after Beatrice, Andrew’s elder daughter. The Canadian player also has a brother, William.

Bouchard pointed her finger at her mother, Julie, for further questions over her royal links.

“She named us, so I wasn’t really aware of what was going on at that time. But I played on Centre Court last year. Kate Middleton’s parents were watching us then. That was really exciting,” she said.

“I think when I went in the Royal Box when I won the juniors, I think the Duke of Kent presented me the trophy.”

With her status as a potential Grand Slam champion-in-waiting, does Bouchard act like a princess, throwing the occasional diva tantrum?

“You can ask my coach or my parents or anyone that I can be a princess,” said the 13th seed who could face 2004 champion and fellow commercial goddess, Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals.

“I mean, they’re not horrible. But I can be moody in the morning. I’m not so much of a morning person. My fitness trainer carries my tennis bag around. But that’s so I don’t get tired because I want to save all my energy for the match.

“I can demand a few things once in a while, but I do it with love,” she smiled.

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

Updated: July 1, 2014 04:00 AM

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