Genie Bouchard says many players are rooting against Maria Sharapova
Genie Bouchard says she received more support from her fellow players before her match against Maria Sharapova on Monday than she ever has throughout her career, and it’s obvious that had everything to do with the level of disdain toward her opponent.
After she defeated Sharapova at the Mutua Madrid Open, Bouchard revealed that she drew added motivation from all the tennis players who wanted her to beat Sharapova.
“I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck, players I don’t normally speak to, getting a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me,” Bouchard said, per Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail. “So I wanted to do it for myself, but also all these people. I really felt support. I definitely had some extra motivation going into today. Obviously I had never beaten her before, but also given the circumstances.”
The circumstances, of course, are that Sharapova just recently returned from a doping ban. The former world No. 1 has pleaded ignorance regarding the banned substance she tested positive for, but it’s clear very few people in the tennis community believe her.
Bouchard has been more outspoken than most about Sharapova, recently labeling her former idol a “cheater.” She said Monday that her opinion stands and is shared by many.
“It showed me that most people have my opinion, and they were just maybe scared to speak out,” Bouchard said. “But privately I’ve had a lot of support, so I was motivated to play.”
You can read the full text of Bouchard’s harsh comments toward Sharapova here.
With the loss to Bouchard, Sharapova will now need to win a round at the Italian Open next week to have an opportunity to qualify for Wimbledon. A trip to the semi-finals would guarantee her a spot in the main draw, otherwise she will need a wildcard to be invited to the event.