Bouchard speaks out as Raducanu talks about ‘not doing tennis one day’

Eugenie Bouchard has lept to Emma Raducanu’s defence after admitting she faced similar criticism to the US Open champion. Bouchard also experienced success at a young age before having her career put under a microscope. And the Canadian recalled one occasion when Raducanu didn’t play tennis for a day to commit to sponsors as she stuck up for the 20-year-old.

Bouchard is continuing her return to competition following a 17-month injury hiatus, most recently qualifying for the Madrid Open main draw. While it has already been a positive tournament for the 29-year-old, Raducanu has suffered a different fate at the WTA 1000 event.

The world No 85 made headlines following a terse 58-word press call on Tuesday and was then forced to pull out of the tournament injured hours before her opening match on Wednesday. Raducanu’s withdrawal means her ranking will drop outside of the top 100 for the first time since she won the 2021 US Open as a qualifier.

The 20-year-old hasn’t had the best luck since her historic achievement as an 18-year-old – dealing with multiple physical setbacks and early losses. And Bouchard has now spoken out as she admitted she dealt with the same in her own career after reaching the 2014 Wimbledon final aged 20.

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“I see lots of similarities,” the former world No 5 told the WTA. “I feel for her [Raducanu] in the sense. She has a great life, she’s set for life and she’s had great achievements. But I can understand a little bit, possibly the pressure, the scrutiny.”

Bouchard also conceded that “haters would hate” no matter what as she likened Raducanu’s recent criticism to the comments she used to face almost a decade ago. The Canadian continued: “She tweeted something, posted something about not doing tennis one day and people were like, ‘Why don’t you go practice?’

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I went through that six, eight years ago.’ Haters will hate, you know what I mean?” The 2014 Wimbledon finalist would often face claims that she spent too much time on social media, something many tried to link to her loss of form.

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But Bouchard hit back and believes that social media use has become more normalised for tennis players, no longer drawing the uproar it used to. “I’ve known all along who I am and what I do,” she said.

“And look, lots of tennis players are posting – people post more than me these days. I’m so happy that these days it’s so much more normal. s long as you don’t get too distracted with it, stay focused on your No 1 goal. Why not? Life is great. Just don’t put us in a box.”

Some players have gone the other way though – including Raducanu, who revealed she deleted Instagram and Whatsapp from her phone. “After AO (Australian Open) I deleted WhatsApp and Instagram off my phone and after that, I’ve been living under my own little rock,” she said during Indian Wells.

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