Flashbacks to Rogers Cup 2014, but on a much happier day for Genie Bouchard as she prepares for Wimbledon

Flashbacks to Rogers Cup 2014, but on a much happier day for Genie Bouchard as she prepares for Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON – The hitting partner phenomenon with the women tennis players (those who can afford the luxury of having one, anyway) is a double-edged sword in the sense that it's easier to organize practices, but it's something that isolates those players even more from their peers and competititors.

But Frenchman Cyril Saulnier, who coaches Genie Bouchard and also acts as a hitting partner, is back home as Nick Saviano takes over for Wimbledon. And, as a result, Bouchard has spent far more time over the last week or so practicing with other players.

It's nothing but a good thing. And after hitting with Japan's Nao Hibino earlier in the day, Bouchard took to the court at Aorangi Park, adjacent to the All-England Club, for a hit with American Shelby Rogers.

Here's what it looked like.

Rogers, most Bouchard fans will remember, was the opponent that awful night in Montreal nearly two years ago, when Bouchard pretty much had a meltdown on the court in front of her hometown fans and ended up on the two-bagel side of lopsided 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 defeat that, in retrospect, was sort of the beginning point of the struggles that carried through 2015.

Clearly, Bouchard didn't hold it against Rogers, because the two were friendly and chatty as they practiced for an hour Friday afternoon.

It's a misconception, dating back to that long-ago quote from Bouchard about not having any friends on tour, that she somehow wafts through her days at tournaments without interacting with anyone or being friendly. It's usually quite the opposite when she's on the practice court with various players. The only thing is, it hasn't happened all that often precisely because of the hitting-partner phenonemon.

Rogers, renowned as one of the loveliest, most likable players on Tour, was the last player to make the original entry list for Wimbledon just as she was for the French Open, where she surprised everyone with an impressive run to the quarter-finals.

She has a tough road this Wimbledon with a first-round match against Germany's Sabine Lisicki, a former finalist and if she wins that, against No. 14 seed Samantha Stosur.

Bouchard's draw is significantly better.

One caveat on all this: in these quiet few days before the Wimbledon storm lets loose, everyone is in a good mood. It's easy; no one has lost yet, everyone is still in the tournament and all, in theory at least, everyone still has a chance to win it.