Former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard’s slide down the tennis rankings had nothing to do with any eating disorder, the Canadian said on Thursday.
The whole issue was down to a misunderstanding, she said.
Tipped for the very top when she reached the Wimbledon final in 2014, Bouchard endured an alarming loss of form in 2015, and suffered a freak accident at the U.S. Open when she slipped in a locker room and suffered a head injury.
A subsequent court case with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and a change of coach and management company hardly helped her focus. Then the rumours began of an eating disorder.
“I never said I had an eating disorder — I don’t have one and never have,” she said in an interview with broadcaster ESPN.
“That was something I was disappointed to see. I was describing how I would be nervous before matches and have trouble eating, which has happened to me since I was eight years old and playing tournaments.
“It definitely happened more frequently in 2015 but now I am less concerned about what people think.
“Now I worry about me and I can eat a lot.”
Bouchard, down at 48th in the rankings after reaching number five in 2014, is still only 22-years-old.
After experiencing a career’s worth of highs and lows in such a short period of time, she has now changed her approach.
“What I learned the most last year was to look out for myself and do what’s best for me; not worry about what people think or say,” she said.
“I was living with a lot of pressure and expectations.
“Now I’ve adopted a go-for-it attitude. Life is short and the career super short and I want to enjoy it. I took a step back and looked at the big picture: it’s tennis, I love it — it’s a beautiful game — so I want to enjoy it.”
Bouchard has not enjoyed the best preparation for Wimbledon, however — losing to lowly-ranked Belgian Elise Mertens in Den Bosch and winning only one match in Mallorca a week later.
At Eastbourne there were some encouraging signs although she was well beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska.
“I had results that I wasn’t satisfied with, so coming into this week I really kind of kicked myself in the butt, told myself to go after it, not have any regrets,” she said.
“I live an amazing life, so I just kind of want to make the most of it.”