Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard returns to Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic during first round of play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Tuesday July 26, 2016 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Eugenie Bouchard’s new coach working her hard ahead of Rogers Cup in Toronto

TORONTO — As one of three Canadians in the main draw at the Rogers Cup, you’d expect that Eugenie Bouchard would be a go-to person for other WTA players looking for restaurant recommendations.

But her new partnership with coach Jorge Todero has her too busy to interact with her peers, let alone give out tips on hot spots in Toronto.

“No one’s really asked me what to do,” said Bouchard on Saturday afternoon at Aviva Centre on York University’s main campus. “I’ve been busy training, I haven’t chatted that much.”

Bouchard and Todero were connected by Sylvain Bruneau, Canada’s long-time Fed Cup captain and coach, in July. Bouchard had been without a coach for months after she and Michael Joyce parted ways in April.

That coaching pairing only began in October but had been contentious by moments, including Joyce criticizing Bouchard’s attitude within range of microphones on Jan. 2 at the ASB Classic in New Zealand.

“It’s been a couple of weeks now and I really like (Todero),” said Bouchard. “It’s going well. We’re trying to change a couple of things, so it’s definitely going to be a process but I think it’s the right process.”

Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., welcomes Todero’s gruff “old school” approach as she tries to climb back up the WTA’s world rankings. She peaked at No. 5 in 2014 but is 114th after winning just two matches at the WTA level this year.

“I don’t want to get in to too many specifics (about training),” said Bouchard, who was given a wild card into the Rogers Cup. “Just a couple of technical things on my shots. Also court positioning, really keeping in mind the essence of my game.”

Bouchard added with a laugh: “Also just putting in a lot of hours.”

Her first opponent at the tournament will be a familiar one: Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont.

Although they have only played each other once — a 6-2, 6-0 win for Andreescu on Jan. 26 in the quarter-finals of the Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach, Calif. — they’ve practised and played together countless times as teammates on Canada’s Fed Cup team.

“(Bouchard) hits the ball really hard, and she likes to take the ball early. She has a really good serve. She likes to take control right from the start of the point,” said Andreescu. “That can be difficult for a lot of players but I played her in Newport and I really think I did a really good job of employing the right tactics.

“I like to change up the rhythm and I think that threw her off a little bit.”

Andreescu had been in attendance at the Rogers Cup draw on Friday night when she and Bouchard were paired up to play each other in the tournament’s first round on Tuesday. She laughed at the coincidence at the time and Bouchard feels the same way.

“I think it’s hilarious that we play each other. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun,” said Bouchard. “I know her well, we’re Fed Cup teammates. It’s going to be a fun battle. I hope people enjoy it.”

Sixteen-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., who won the French Open junior girls title earlier this year, is the third Canadian in the Rogers Cup draw. She will face a qualifier in the first round after being given a wild card into the tournament.


Follow @jchidleyhill on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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