LONDON – It was a magical Wimbledon fortnight for Genie Bouchard as she became the first Canadian to ever make a grand slam singles final. She has taken the tennis world by storm this season, which is just her second as a full-timer on the WTA Tour.
Bouchard's meteoric rise means many in the media world are still trying to get to know the 20-year-old and what makes her tick. And at the All England Club Bouchard was bombarded with questions about every possible topic. The Montreal native handled it with class and great humour.
The following is the best of Bouchard's media interactions from Wimbledon 2014.
1. BIEBER FEVER
After a win at the Australian Open in January, Bouchard was asked if she could date anyone, who would she date. She picked Justin Bieber. The media (especially the British tabloids) have not forgotten. This is from Thursday, after her semifinal win:
Q. Do you think Justin Bieber will have noticed you yet?
EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I hope so. I'm putting in so much hard work, you know. I want to see this hard work rewarded. I don't know. I mean ...
Q. He's not been in touch then?
BOUCHARD: No (laughter). You know, he's kind of been in trouble recently, so ... I'm not associated with that at the moment. But, you know, if he cleans up his image ... No? Someone is shaking their head no.
Q. Given Justin Bieber is not Royal Box material, who would be your dream person to see there on Saturday?
BOUCHARD: He's not (smiling)? They really wouldn't allow him in the Royal Box if he came?
Q. He might not be the top of the invite list. They wouldn't let him through the gates.
BOUCHARD: I feel like he would manage to get himself in there somehow. No? Who else? Um, that's a tough question. I would love like to see Oprah there or something.
Believe it or not Bieber was brought up again on Friday on the eve of her championship match:
Q. Has Justin Bieber been in touch with you since yesterday?
BOUCHARD: No, he has not been in touch in the past 24 hours.
2. OPRAH ADMIRATION
Q. Something you said yesterday that's been bugging me overnight, why you said Oprah Winfrey would be your dream spectator in the Royal Box?
BOUCHARD: She's a person I would love to meet. I've gotten asked before if you could go to dinner with someone, I've named her in the past. I think her story is really special. She came from nothing and built herself up to this huge empire and the richest woman in the world. I love those stories like that. Justin Bieber is another story like that. I just love the story of making yourself into something. I would love to hear about her experiences and all those kinds of things. If she would watch tennis in the Royal Box, that would be cool.
Q. Does that reflect you a bit, you identify with it a bit?
BOUCHARD: Yeah. You know, I've worked really hard in my life. I appreciate other people who have done the same and have these amazing dreams and actually work hard and go out and achieve them. Especially when they come from really humble beginnings and have this positive attitude on life. Whatever they earn, it's like because of them. They've truly earned it. Yeah, I love those stories.
3. PEER-PRESSURING A PRINCESS
Bouchard is named after Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew, whom she has never met.
Q. Have you received any messages from the Royal family since you've been here?
BOUCHARD: No. Am I supposed to? I mean, I would like to think Princess Eugenie would come out and say a word or two. I'm looking forward to maybe meeting one day the girl I was named after. That would be pretty cool. But no, not yet. I haven't really spotted any. Not that I've been socializing around the grounds.
Princess Eugenie did show up to Saturday's championship match.
Q. You said yesterday that you would like to have the princess you're named after in the Royal Box and she was there.
BOUCHARD: I know, that was crazy. I did see her in the box. I'm very happy that she came out. Disappointed I couldn't put on a better show for her, but I'd love to meet her, of course. It's the only person I'm named after. She's the only one in the world.
Q. Did she say anything to you at all?
BOUCHARD: I haven't seen her. If she's still here, hopefully I'll get a chance to meet her. I don't know.
4. ROOF ROMANCE
Last Monday, Bouchard played Alize Cornet in a fourth-round match on Centre Court, which was interrupted by rain. There was a 30-minute delay while the roof was closed.
Q. The delay today was considerably shorter than we experienced on Saturday. Any effect at all?
BOUCHARD: Yeah, well, I thought they would put the roof up right away, but they kind of waited I think to see. I'm happy I got the experience of playing under the famous roof. I follow the roof on Twitter (@WimbledonRoof), and he's kind of funny. I hope he's proud of how I played today. He was looking down. Hopefully he enjoyed the match.
5. MARRIAGE PROPOSALS
Q. I don't know if you've been on your phone, but hundreds of people have been tweeting you asking you to marry them. What do you think of that?
BOUCHARD: Yeah, I won't check that too much, especially during a tournament. Good effort, though. There's always a chance, I guess, that I'll say yes over Twitter (laughter). So keep 'em coming.
6. STANLEY CUP TAKES A BACKSEAT
Q. How much of a hockey fan are you? Would this be your Stanley Cup if you get this?
BOUCHARD: I think Wimbledon is greater than the Stanley Cup, so I wouldn't compare it to that. But I am a little bit of a fan. Not a huge follower. I'm more of a bandwagon fan. I kind of follow in the playoffs. I'm not a true fan. But, you know, I enjoy watching games live. But I think hockey season is over, and it's a summer for tennis now.
7. BIG BANG, LAME PUNS
Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons travelled to London to support Bouchard. The two had become friends via e-mail conversations last year. Bouchard is a huge fan of the show and some members of the media could not help themselves ...
Q. It's appropriate that you're making a big bang, I guess.
BOUCHARD: That was a really corny joke. God.
And a few days later ...
Q. You're now set to play in the biggest match on the biggest court in the biggest tournament. The other day you were talking your favourite show is the Big Bang Theory. Do you think this is a kind of a big bang?
BOUCHARD: Someone made that really lame joke a few days ago. I called him out on it. So I'm going to have to say that was really lame again. I'm just trying my best, you know. Just, like I said, so excited. This is what I've worked my whole life for.
Earlier, Bouchard was asked why she enjoys the sitcom.
Q. The Big Bang Theory is such a wonderful show. What do you love about it?
BOUCHARD: It's my favourite show. It's a comedy, you know. For me, so many unexpected things, you just burst out laughing. It's a nice way to relax and have a good time. It's less stressful to watch than, say, like a movie on a war or something. It's pretty relaxing, which I love. Jim Parsons' character Sheldon is my favourite character. He's so nerdy. I love the character. He's so smart and set in his ways. I think the writing of the show is pretty spectacular.
Q. Do you have a little bit of nerd in you?
BOUCHARD: I do have a little bit of that in me. When I was in school, I really enjoyed school. My favourite class was math class. I was very determined to try to get 100 per cent on all my math tests. I think that kind of self-discipline translates to tennis. But, you know, I would have loved to go to school and go to university and things like that. Maybe I'll do that when I'm 30 and just chill with the 20-year-olds.
8. WHERE ARE ALL THE STUFFED ANIMALS!?!?
At the Australian Open, Bouchard's legion of followers – Genie Army – showed their support by throwing stuffed animals on the court after her matches. That hasn't happened as much at subsequent grand slams much to the dismay of some reporters.
Q. Was the crowd more subdued than you would have expected?
BOUCHARD: Well, it's Wimbledon. Everyone is really classy here. That's what we expect at Wimbledon. It's nice.
Q. The reason I ask is you didn't appear to have many of the little toys thrown on at the end. Did you have any today?
BOUCHARD: I got some actually after my practice this morning. That was pretty motivating. I got Cinderella as well. I got a person. I like to think that's me. Someone gave me it because I'm a princess. Yeah, I saw a few flags, single members of Genie Army. But it's Wimbledon, so we're a little bit more subdued here. It's the tradition. I like that.
And a few days later ...
Q. Genie's Army threw a couple of toys at you. Have you had any thrown over to you recently?
BOUCHARD: No, I haven't. I think it's because there's a rule that you're not allowed to throw anything on the court at Wimbledon. I'm sure that's a rule and that's why I haven't received any.
Q. As far as throwing things on the court, from a country where there's a tradition of throwing things on the court, did that offend you?
BOUCHARD: Not receiving things?
BOUCHARD: No, it doesn't offend me. It's kind of a bonus type thing if I get it. I don't think it happens very often in tennis. The crazy Genie Army from Australia started it. I've received it at most tournaments since. But Wimbledon is very proper, so, you know...
Q. It's been like six months with the stuffed animals. How many do you have and what are you doing with them?
BOUCHARD: I have to go and count. I mean, for sure over 50 because sometimes I get multiple after matches. Although at Wimbledon, maybe they're not allowed to throw things on court. I'm going to go with that since they haven't thrown me any on court. But I'm going to do something cool with it. Just wait and see. It will be something cool.
9. BLUE BLOOD
Q. We know about your family's interest in the Royal family. The Countess of Wessex and a number of other Royals were in the box. Have you played for Royals before? How does it feel?
BOUCHARD: First off, I should say parental interest, probably mostly mother. She named us, so I wasn't really aware of what was going on at that time (smiling). I did not know who was in the box. I will get that information later for sure.
Q. You're named after a princess. Do you ever have princess-like tendencies?
Q. What are they?
BOUCHARD: You can ask my coach or my parents or anyone that I can be a princess (laughter). I mean, they're not horrible. But I can be moody in the morning. I'm not so much of a morning person. My fitness trainer carries my tennis bag around. But that's so I don't get tired because I want to save all my energy for the match. You know, I don't know. I mean, I can demand a few things once in a while, but I do it with love (smiling).
Q. You say it's your mother that is a bit of a Royal family nut. Why is she?
BOUCHARD: She's kind of like a closet Royalist. I don't know. They're very nice names. My younger sister is Charlotte. My younger brother is William, like Prince William. I think they're all very nice names that can last through generations and can fit for young people and old people, you know. I don't know. I mean, you'd have to ask her really. She's over there.
10. CASE OF THE COUGHER
At the end of her third-round win over Andrea Petkovic, Bouchard and the German shared a laugh at the net.
Q. You were pointing and laughing at something at the net.
BOUCHARD: I asked her if she heard this lady coughing during the match. There was this lady that was really coughing a lot. She was like, 'I know, I thought she was dying.' I was like, 'I know, I wanted to say something to the umpire, like maybe she should leave and get help.' I mean, it was kind of distracting. We were also both like, 'What's going on?' I think she finally left in the end. Yeah, we both kind of almost felt bad, like, 'Is she okay?' I think she's fine now ... Well, I don't know for sure.