5 things you may not have known about Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada plays a return to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women's singles quarterfinal match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. (AP / Ben Curtis)
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, July 2, 2014 2:34PM EDT
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard has advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals, becoming the first Canadian to make the singles semifinals at the prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournament.
After Bouchard's big win over Angelique Kerber on Wednesday, her ranking is expected to rise to at least no. 8. She is set to play third seed Simona Halep in the semis on Thursday.
Bouchard’s coach, Nick Saviano, told CTV News Channel that Bouchard will spend the rest of Wednesday trying to relax, before "really zeroing" in later tonight to focus on Thursday's big game.
With all eyes on the 20-year-old Quebec native ahead of the semifinal round, here's five things you may not have known about the rising tennis star.
1. No stranger to Wimbledon
While Bouchard made history by becoming the first Canadian to reach a Wimbledon single’s semifinal, she's no stranger to the All-England Club.
In 2012, Bouchard won the Wimbledon Junior Girls' title. She later said that the win against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina was "very special" and a career highlight for her.
In 2011 and 2012, Bouchard also won the Wimbledon junior doubles titles with partners Grace Min and Taylor Townsend, respectively.
2. WTA Newcomer of the Year
In November 2013, Bouchard was named the Women's Tennis Association's "Newcomer of the Year.” Bouchard was awarded the honour, which is voted on by members of the media, after a standout year which saw her reach her first WTA final in Osaka, Japan.
Bouchard started 2013 ranked at no. 144 and finished the season at no. 32, according to Tennis Canada.
Past female tennis players who've won the "Newcomer of the Year" award include legends Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis.
3. Sharapova is her childhood hero
In a promotional video released last year, Bouchard names Sharapova as one of her childhood heroes.
In the video, Bouchard said she remembers being inspired to play tennis after watching Sharapova win Wimbledon when the Russian tennis star was just 17.
"It just looked so cool, I wanted to do exactly what she was doing," Bouchard said in the video.
Bouchard later got the chance to play her idol during the Sony Open in March 2013. Although Sharapova beat Bouchard in straight sets, Bouchard said she valued the chance to play one of the world's best players.
"I saw the level of (Sharapova's) serves, of her ground strokes, her intensity on every single point. It really showed me what I need to do to get to that level," she said.
4. Early start
Bouchard, who hails from Westmount, Que., knew from an early age that she wanted to play professional tennis.
"I'd say probably when I was nine, when I travelled out of Canada and the U.S. for the first time (when) I travelled to a tournament in France, I thought 'Wow, this is really cool. I want to make a career out of this,'" she said in the video.
So at the age of 12, Bouchard moved to Florida to train under U.S. tennis coach Saviano. Saviano continues to serve as her coach.
5. 'The Genie Army'
Bouchard is active on social media, with over 209,000 Twitter followers and over 24,000 subscribers to her official Facebook page.
There is also a dedicated fan club to Bouchard, dubbed the "Genie Army."
Based out of Melbourne, Australia, the group's Facebook page has more than 4,000 subscribers, and regularly updates its members on Bouchard's progress.
Group member Filippe Ricciardi told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that he and his fellow "army" members first noticed Bouchard at last year's Wimbledon tournament.
"We thought, let's support her… she's young, she's talented and she's got a wonderful playing style," he said.
Bouchard isn't afraid to show her life off of the court on social media either. In 2012, she and fellow professional player Laura Robson showed a lighter side of the WTA tour, in a spoof of the monster hit video "Gangnam Style."
The video, which was posted to YouTube, features a brief introduction from Sharapova, and shows Bouchard and Robson dancing and singing in various locations around China.
Bouchard said the video was meant to show that life on tour isn't just about tennis.
"We were in Beijing and decided to do this crazy video… we just wanted to show a fun side of the tour and that it's not that boring. We had a lot of fun doing it," Bouchard said in the promotional video.
With files from The Canadian Press