Okay, I admit, I do kind of like Eugenie Bouchard. She’s easy enough to like, if you’re willing to forgive modern teenage music tastes, and don’t mind your female athletes hyper-prioritizing winning, and I’ve always found Maria Sharapova okay enough(they’re right to drawn the comparisons between the two of them). When this tournament began, I certainly didn’t think it likely I’d be cheering against her.
But ESPN’s hype. Crossed the line sometime between when she won her semi-final and things started going downhill for her today, and then kept going. I was actually out for much of the final for real life business that couldn’t wait, but when I followed on my phone the final score and time of the match felt like a comeuppance. The guard is slow indeed to change in tennis, and ESPN seems to make an idiot of itself every time the remote possibility emerges that a young blonde white player from North America might become the next big thing. Which Bouchard actually shows more probability of being than anyone else has in recent years, but that just makes the whole thing worse. But then I come home to ESPN showing her press conference, and, well, really? This day ought to have been about Petra Kvitova rising again from her post-win slump and returning to the pinnacle she’d once stood on, all while playing the tennis of her life. Had she been North American, I doubt ESPN could’ve gotten enough of that storyline. Instead, watching the ABC rerun later, I found myself almost counting how much the commentators were talking about Bouchard struggling, as opposed to Kvitova being brilliant. There was much more dwelling on the former than the latter.
At least tomorrow we’ve got the old guard Swiss and Serb, and the one of them ESPN usually favors is arguably the best tennis player in history anyway. It’ll probably be a more even match too. I hope.