Sportswriters such as myself are generally bad at predicting the future. If we were really good at predicting outcomes, we would be sports bettors and not sporswriters. However, matches such as the one between Bianca Andreescu and Eugenie Bouchard at the Rogers Cup don’t need to be predicted.
The service I can provide for Canadian readers and all other readers of tennis analysis is to frame the battle before it begins.
Who will win this matchup of two Canadians? Who will win this confrontation between a rising star (Andreescu) and a former Wimbledon finalist (Bouchard) who remembers what it was like to achieve stardom… but hasn’t retained it?
I don’t know… and that’s part of why this match is complicated.
Andreescu has played one match since late March in Miami, when her team — for reasons unknown — allowed her to play despite a grueling Indian Wells tournament in which she needed medical attention and worked herself to the bone in order to win a stunning championship. Andreescu’s shoulder was cooked. Her body was sore. She managed to come back from a big deficit to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu. She then beat Sofia Kenin and the woman she defeated in the Indian Wells final, Angelique Kerber. Yet, those Miami wins came at a cost.
Her shoulder became worse, and as a result, she played a single match at the French Open — nothing more — in the next four months.
The idea that we should know what to expect from Andreescu seems overconfident.
In this article at @ItsDeanBlundell, I explain that Eugenie Bouchard is a "hot-take trap."
Find out what that means, and see the examples I use to illustrate my point(s) on Genie:https://t.co/lxhkOY3YOh
— Matt Zemek (@mzemek) July 30, 2019
Bouchard’s form has been nonexistent this year, and for quite some time. You can read the story in the embedded tweet above for more on Genie, who has been bottled up ever since that unfortunate fall (off-court, not on) at the 2015 U.S. Open.
One night, one match, does not and will not indicate that a tennis player is on the road back. It can be the start of something positive, but it hardly represents a final verdict or a guaranteed indicator. That said, if Bouchard can enter the electric atmosphere in Toronto on Tuesday night and allow the moment to give her an adrenaline rush, maybe she will be able to play closer to the level she wants.
I wouldn’t expect it, but certain situations can elicit better performance from athletes. (Think of Nick Kyrgios, who plays Novak Djokovic better and tougher than he plays a lot of comparatively mediocre players on tour.)
Here is the ultimately complicated aspect of Andreescu-Bouchard, which will unfold in the Aviva Centre, shown above: There will understandably be a lot of hype for this match, and yet its outcome should not be hyped. It will not indicate that the winner is back in business, or that the loser has no hope.
Andreescu has to slowly build her way back from her shoulder problems. Staying healthy is a bigger priority than having a great week in Canada and potentially busting the shoulder or any other body part for an extended period of time.
Bouchard has to slowly work her way back as well. If she has a great week in Canada, it will be only one week. Bouchard needs a lot more than one week to say — and see — that she has rediscovered a missing source of quality.
This is a hyped match, but the outcome cannot be shouted from the rooftops, as though it is proof of something great.
Andreescu-Bouchard: Hashtag #ItsComplicated.