Canada is making its historic debut in the Fed Cup World Group I this weekend, but without No. 1 player Genie Bouchard.
Bouchard came up in the ranks with the help of Tennis Canada funding. Bouchard is not doing anything this week — in fact she went to a hockey game a couple days ago.
But as Canada host the Czech Republic, who is itself without its top stars — an incredible chance for Canada to advance — Bouchard chose to pass on representing her country.
“I just assumed she would want to be here. No matter what anybody else was telling her,” said her teammate Gabriela Dabrowski, taking to SportsNet.
Canadian Fed Cup Captain Sylvain Bruneau had spoken to Bouchard in Melbourne and thought her participation was a done deal.
“A little bit of a surprise,” he said. “You know, I had a feeling she would play.”
Bouchard will play a WTA event in Belgium next week, but Canadian fans, her teammates and Canadian association members still picked her to represent the maple leaf on such a huge occasion for Canadian women’s tennis.
Bouchard for her part last April was straightforward about playing for Canada only when it is convenient, speaking after helping lift Canada into the World Group I for the first time.
“My priorities are of course WTA tour and Grand Slams, but if it works out I’ll be so excited to play for my country,” she said.
Guess it didn’t work out.
Bouchard has since been silent, giving no interviews or social media posts on missing the big home event.
Oddly enough, Bouchard needs just one more Fed Cup appearance to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She could have been one and done and helped Canada into the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time ever.
“I mean, it’s Fed Cup,” said her teammate Sharon Fichman “Like…if I was making so much money, I would still want to play Fed Cup because it’s a special opportunity to represent your country”
Canadian fans learned a lot about their young No. 1 player this week, and it will be interesting to see how Bouchard handles the damage control, if she deems it necessary to handle it at all.
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