Eugenie Bouchard crashes back to earth in 'despicable' furore at Madrid Open

The Canadian tennis player issued an apology for her actions after being eliminated from the tournament.

Eugenie Bouchard, pictured here in action at the Madrid Open.
Eugenie Bouchard was bundled out of the Madrid Open in the second round. Image: Getty

Eugenie Bouchard has issued an apology for inflammatory comments she made about 'dopers' after being eliminated from the Madrid Open on Friday. The Canadian tennis star won just her second match at WTA 1000 level in the last four years on Wednesday when she beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round.

It marked a huge step in the right direction for Bouchard after a number of years in the wilderness battling injuries and inconsistent form. But the 29-year-old undid all her good work when she took an extraordinary swipe at her beaten opponent on social media.

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In a tweet that was later deleted, Bouchard wrote: “There’s something about playing dopers in Madrid." Bouchard's comments were a reference to the fact that Yastremska tested positive for anabolic steroid mesterolone in 2021, before a provisional suspension was lifted when the International Tennis Federation found she “bore no fault or negligence” for the failed test.

Bouchard was also referencing her win over Maria Sharapova in Madrid in 2017, which came just months after the Russian star had made her return following a 15-month suspension for using banned substance meldonium in 2016. Speaking in 2017, Bouchard said she believed Sharapova got off lightly.

"She’s a cheater. I don’t think a cheater at any sport should be allowed to play that sport again," she said.

"It’s so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true. I think from the WTA it sends the wrong message to young kids: ‘Cheat and we’ll welcome you back with open arms.’ I don’t think that’s right, and definitely not someone I look up to anymore because it’s definitely ruined it for me a little bit.”

Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova, pictured here at the Madrid Open in 2017.
Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova at the Madrid Open in 2017. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The saga took another twist on Friday when Bouchard offered an apology. “I want to apologize for my tweet yesterday,” she wrote on Twitter.

“It was a lapse in judgment, and unnecessary. Though I’ve always championed fair play, I didn’t have all my facts in order and certainly didn’t mean to cause harm. I’m going to continue to work on myself going forward, both on and off the court.”

Bouchard's backflip came after her run in Madrid was halted by Martina Trevisan, who brought the Canadian crashing back to earth following her brilliant run in the Spanish capital. Bouchard cruised through qualifying to make the main draw and then upset Yastremska, but went down 6-2 7-5 against Trevisan on Friday.

Bouchard converted all three break points she earned during the match, but was broken six times by Trevisan. The World No.20 made the semi-finals at the French Open last year.

Iga Swiatek makes solid start at Madrid Open

Elsewhere on Friday, World No.1 Iga Swiatek eased into the third round after cruising past Julia Grabher in straight sets. The top seed only dropped five games en route to a 6-3 6-2 win on her return to Madrid, after missing the event last year due to a shoulder injury.

Swiatek is now on a five-match winning streak on clay after taking the title in Stuttgart last week. The win set up a meeting with Bernarda Pera following her 6-1 6-3 victory over Tatjana Maria of Germany.

Meanwhile, Anna Kalinskaya upset Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina to claim a hard-fought 7-5 4-6 6-2 win. Rybakina won the Indian Wells title last month and reached the final in Miami, while also finishing runner-up at the Australian Open in January.

But Kalinskaya was able to take down the seventh seed to reach the next round, where she will face Petra Martic. Third seed Jessica Pegula also opened her campaign with a win, securing a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 victory against Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech.

with AAP

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