Instead, for the first time in a Grand Slam final, it will be two players born in the 1990s who contest the Venus Rosewater trophy. The No6 seed, 24-year-old Petra Kvitova is still the only woman born in that decade to have won a Major, here at Wimbledon in 2011. No13 seed, 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard, is only the fourth player from the ‘90s to reach a Grand Slam final.
Together, they will make the youngest final since 2008 Roland Garros.
The tall left-handed Czech is already guaranteed a rise back to No4 in the rankings, though she is still short of the career-high No2 that she sealed after her first victory here.
Bouchard, the junior champion here only two years ago, is guaranteed to make her top-10 debut at No7—and No6 if she wins the title—having started the year at No32. She is the only woman on the tour to have reached at least the semis of all three Grand Slams this year.
And she has, without doubt, been the headline maker not just in native Canada—where she has become the nation’s darling—but here too. Here’s what she had to say about that, and more, while Kvitova has had to handle question after question about her inability to follow 2011 success with more Grand Slam wins or an expected surge to No1.
“It’s very special to have their support here. I even felt it a bit last year and even the year before when I won juniors. It’s nice coming back here and people knowing who I am. I definitely feel their support when I’m on the court.”
[On playing Kvitova] “I don’t know her that well. I don’t think I’ve ever practised with her actually. I played her once last year in Toronto. But I know she’s a really good player. I’m looking forward to having my toughest match at Wimbledon yet. It’s going to be a big occasion. She’s already been in a final and won it.
“I’m going to go out and really just try to go for it and take my chances. I know I’ll have really tough opposition. That’s what you have to expect in a Grand Slam final.
“I know she obviously likes the grass and has some good weapons, so I will be ready for those. I’ll try to impose my own weapons and game against her.
“[But] I think I play a solid, aggressive game, one that’s well suited for grass. So I like playing on these courts. I really just try to take control of the point when I can and really go for it. I want to try to take my chances, not kind of wait till someone gives it to me.”
[On being compared with Sharapova] “I see it two ways. I see it as a compliment to be compared to someone like Sharapova who has won five Slams. She’s a great champion. I see it in a positive light. But also I’m my own person. I don’t want to be the next someone else. I want to be the first of me. You know, I want to be my own individual person. That’s what I do. I’ll try to make my own history.”
“I started playing tennis at five years old. Soon after, it was my dream to become a professional tennis player. I was very young when I decided I wanted to do it. I was nine. Since that age I dreamt of winning a Grand Slam.
“As for this year, well, it’s been a long time in the making for it to finally come together, all the hard work, the talent I know I have, the effort I put in, for it to produce results on the match court. That’s happened this year, but it’s been a long time in the making.”
[On this time versus 2011] “I think these three years was really up and down during the season. I knew that a lot of people are expecting from me something more than I did probably. But on the other side, I was still in the top 10 and I did everything what I could. I was practising very hard and everything. But it’s never easy with the girls obviously.
“Yeah, was a lot of positive things I got, but definitely when I won here 2011, I needed to change a little bit myself on the court and off the court, as well, to get used to the pressure, media, and everything like that.”
[On Bouchard] “We played last year in Toronto. She was just coming up. I find her as a very solid and talented player. She really seems that she is confident in her game right now. She’s moving very well. She’s playing aggressively from near the baseline.
“She’s a very good mover. I think it’s very similar to my game. I think it’s going to be tough battle. Definitely I had a few already, so I know how it feels and what I can expect.
“Yeah, I mean I beat her for the first time last year in Toronto, but it’s a long time ago. It was on the hard court. This is totally different. So, I mean, I really have to be focusing on everything and try to push her.”
“Definitely I have to play my game. I mean, I have to use my left serve a lot and to be aggressive. That’s my game. That I think can be the key.”
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BIOGRAPHY: Mohamed Salah