Bouchard bounced as concussion lawsuit simmers

Eugenie Bouchard (Getty Images)
Eugenie Bouchard (Getty Images)

New York - Eugenie Bouchard's return to the US Open, complicated by her lawsuit against the tournament where she suffered a concussion last year, didn't last long.

The Canadian starlet was bounced from the first round on Tuesday by Czech Katerina Siniakova, unable to improve on the fourth-round run of 2015 that was abruptly halted when she slipped in a dark physiotherapy room, hit her head and withdrew from the tournament with concussion symptoms that slowed her the rest of the year.

"Obviously coming back here I had mixed emotions," Bouchard said.

"It's hard not to think about what happened last year. But since I've been here I've been forcing myself to focus on the positive."

In her lawsuit against the US Tennis Association, Bouchard claimed the floor where she fell had been treated by cleaners with a "slippery, foreign and dangerous substance" that led to her mishap.

She acknowledged the oddity of a player actively suing a tournament playing in that same event.

"If I sit down and think about it yeah it's definitely a strange situation, but it's something that's so far in the back of my mind, I don't think about it on a daily basis at all," said the 22-year-old, who rose as high as five in the world in a stellar 2014 campaign that included a run to the Wimbledon final but endured a precipitous slump the following year.

But the lawsuit was in the news in the days leading up to the Open, when her lawyer told ESPN the USTA had been "stalling" on the matter.

The USTA responded with a statement first published on the Sports Business Daily website saying it was "truly unfortunate that a year after her accident, Genie's focus is on matters other than playing to her best ability".

"I am 100 percent focused on tennis," Bouchard said on Tuesday. "I have lawyers who are working on the case. I just know it's going on in the background and I'm disappointed in what happened so I have to fight for what I think is right."

Bouchard, currently ranked 39th in the world, said her return from the concussion was "very difficult".

"It ended my year and I had a really rough couple of months," said Bouchard, adding that she had felt fine physically since January, but that it had taken longer for her game and confidence to come around.

That confidence wouldn't have been helped by 20-year-old Siniakova's 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory.

"I feel like I didn't really play well," Bouchard said. "I wish I could have had better feeling on the court, served better ... she played better than me today for sure."

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