Eugenie Bouchard out of Hong Kong tournament; season likely over

Eh Game
Eugenie Bouchard out of Hong Kong tournament; season likely over
Eugenie Bouchard out of Hong Kong tournament; season likely over

Tokyo? Withdrawal.

Wuhan? Withdrawal just before her first-round match

Beijing? Retirement early in the second set of her first-round match.

Hong Kong? Withdrawal.

Genie Bouchard's Asian swing, which under normal circumstances would have been an opportunity to build on the momentum regained during the US Open, is officially a disaster.

The 21-year-old from Montreal tried, but both in Wuhan and in Beijing suffered recurrences of concussion symptoms, in the wake of the notorious locker-room accident at the US Open Sept. 6.

Unless she looks for a wild card at one of the final WTA Tour events of the season the following week in Luxembourg or Moscow, her season from hell is done. The Hong Kong tournament will take place next week.

There are smaller events – $125,000 WTA tournaments, and ITF events with smaller prize money (two of them in Canada) remaining on the schedule. But Bouchard's year-end ranking in 2014 is simply too high to be eligible to compete, even if she had an interest.

In its inaugural edition a year ago, the Hong Kong event went through a whole lot of mayhem after it had used Bouchard as the centrepiece of its promotional campaign, only to find that she wasn't going to play. The head of the Hong Kong tennis association even was fined a significant amount for speaking out publicly in the media, criticizing the Canadian for her failure to live up to her commitment.

Karma seems to have bitten them back; this is the tournament's promotional poster.

The rogues' gallery of women's tennis stars on this poster is a rather broken lot; how many will show?
The rogues' gallery of women's tennis stars on this poster is a rather broken lot; how many will show?

A banged-up Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn and pulled the plug on her season. Bouchard appears to have done so as well, understandably. Sabine Lisicki also is out for the rest of the year. Garbiñe Muguruza and Venus Williams, the hobbled twosome who faced each other in the Wuhan final last week (Muruguza retired in the second set, handing Williams the title), also aren't healthy.

Williams, who was awarded a wild card into the Hong Kong tournament, was beaten in straight sets by Ana Ivanovic in Beijing Tuesday, in her first match there. She looked out of gas.

So the question is, will any of these fab five even show? Will the tournament look to some of the other worn-out top players on Tour to add another week to their schedule, before the WTA Tour finals? There aren't many names left, certainly none that will sell tickets.

At any rate, there was certainly little point in Bouchard taking another three-hour flight to another Asian destination, given what happened on Monday.

Of more long-term importance is the fact that Bouchard had both a new coach (Thomas Hogstedt) and a physical trainer with her in Beijing on a tryout basis.

The Canadian was trying out a new physical trainer in Beijing; there wasn't much opportunity to see whether or not he was a good fit. (Photo courtesy of Tatiana Kulickova)
The Canadian was trying out a new physical trainer in Beijing; there wasn't much opportunity to see whether or not he was a good fit. (Photo courtesy of Tatiana Kulickova)

The limited time they had together, and Bouchard's overall condition, are thin soup with which to make the most important decisions of her off-season as she looks ahead towards 2016.

 

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