2012 Wimbledon Girls Champ and all-round tennis prodigy Eugenie Bouchard (Player Bio) has beaten 4 top-20 players this year (including two – Sloane Stephens and Jelena Jankovic in the Tokyo Pan Pacific) however it’s not just her on-court success that has been making the World No. 36 hit the headlines.
The 19-year old Quebec native has decided that were she ever to become a tennis commissioner she would allow tennis fans to be “a little more crazy”. Bouchard was asked the hypothetical question in Sports Illustrated’s Beyond the Baseline, and answered:
“I would say letting fans in and out [of matches] whenever they want and letting them be louder…Fans in other sports can be more crazy. I know [tennis] fans have trouble with the fact that they can only go in after two games and have to be very quiet. It would be more fun for the fans if it was a little more crazy.”
Although the highest ranked teenager on the WTA tour may be showing expertise and prowess on court, her comments have ruffled the feathers of her more experienced peers who themselves have suffered problems with matches due to over-enthusiastic fans.
Lativa’s Ernests Gulbis could be one player who will disagree with the comments made by Bouchard. In August he was continually jeered at and heckled during a quarter-final match at the Canadian Open (which he eventually lost to Milos Raonic), leading him to dub the spectators as “stupid”.
It’s not just over-enthusiastic jeering either, some tennis fans have a tendency to imagine themselves as linesmen – Roger Federer himself has suffered the indignity of hearing match spectators shout ‘out’ during a serve against Ryan Harrison at the Miami Masters this year, which then cost him the serve and forced the Swiss Number 1 to spend an additional 25 minutes closing out the match. The recently returned Rafa Nadal also had to force a complaint to the chair umpire at this year’s US Open after fans kept shouting ‘out’ during the course of play.
The teenage pro may be a sensation on court, but her sensationalist comments have done little to improve her reputation as a serious professional.