Bouchard loses in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in pickleball debut

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Wednesday marked a significant milestone in Eugenie Bouchard‘s career as she embarked on her professional pickleball journey. The former Wimbledon finalist made her debut at the PPA Hyundai Masters in Palm Springs with a mindset of zero expectations. Despite facing defeat in all three of her matches, the Canadian athlete maintains a positive outlook, emphasizing that she was at least able to secure some points during the challenging competition.

The pickleball debut was a short, yet nerve-wrecking and stressful experience for Bouchard. The tournament website reports that she kept forgetting which side of the court to line up on and spent a lot of energy “just working on logistics and the setting of the game.”

In the women’s singles category, Bouchard faced a defeat against Ekaterina Biakina with a scoreline of 11-1 11-7. In women’s doubles, where she teamed up with Chao-Yi Wang, the duo experienced elimination at the hands of Malia Lum and Trang Huynh-McClain. Further in mixed doubles, Bouchard, paired with Tyler Loong, encountered another setback, succumbing to Marietta Wright and Pablo Tellez.

Reflecting on her performance, the former WTA world No.5 remarked:

I need to get some practice in and some more matches in. I need to get out there in the heat of the moment. The positive thing is, I got some points and didn’t completely embarrass myself. I’m proud that I was able to stay calm and get some points in that second game. I expect to be more competitive in the next tournament, but gimme a full year.

Despite the transition to pickleball, Bouchard emphasizes that she is not retiring from professional tennis, it’s just that the PPA’s compelling offer was a significant factor in her decision to try her hand at pickleball.

Under her contract with the PPA, Bouchard is obligated to participate in all four major events on the circuit, with The Masters in Palm Springs being the inaugural tournament. Additionally, she will be part of various other events throughout the season.

Pickleball has seen a remarkable rise in popularity, becoming one of the fastest-growing sports globally. With over 50,000 courts in the United States and a growing presence in the United Kingdom, it has attracted the attention of not only athletes but also sports icons like Tom Brady and LeBron James, who have invested in the sport.

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