An Open Letter to Genie Bouchard
Oh, Canada. Where to begin? Well, I hope you don't mind me calling you by your nickname, though you prefer to go by it anyway. Onward.
Come what may in your semifinal match against Li Na in Melbourne, it's obvious that you are here to stay on the WTA tour. And for that, many are glad. Not just your fellow Canucks, who had never before seen one of their own outlive all the American singles players in a Grand Slam draw. No, you—the WTA's 2013 Newcomer of the Year, the sport's de facto toothpaste model—are much more than your looks and your style. Both will be bandied about, ballyhooed when they're not booed, moving forward. You know this. Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, and many more strong, beautiful women whose surnames don't end in -ova have gone before you.
Beyond appearance, as this is sport and it is competition, after all, you are a fantastic tennis player. You weren't ranked inside the Top 100 in women's tennis a year ago, and yet now you're a star. You're a seeded player. You're supposed to win most matches you play. A year ago, you didn't escape the Australian Open's second round of qualifying. Today: the semifinals. In the words of your fellow Canadian, Drake, "Started from the bottom, now [you're] here," indeed.
But you're not doing it alone. Aye, you brought an entire army with you. "Genie's Army," as they call themselves. And just like you, they will not go quietly. Heck, they may, after five rounds of this consistently splendid tennis, rival the size of Canada's own armed forces. You are making believers of a good many tennis observers, fans, and (they're out there) chronic naysayers.
Oh, about believing, that reminds me: there's that Bieber thing. You have a little crush.
And what's the harm? Though Justin Bieber seems to be 19 going on 13, this is no May-December romance. You're all of four days his elder, born on February 25. Haters will hate, m'lady. You're allowed to be young and fancy-free and pine for pop stars who periodically relieve themselves in restaurants and run away into the night.
Just please don't ever descend to the court, Genie, harnessed in angel wings made of, say, immaculate-white tennis racquets. This I beseech you.
Now you're about to play a Grand Slam champion who has twice served as runner-up at this, each new season's kickoff major event. The tournament, dubbed the Happy Slam, always harbors such promise. Above all else, about this semifinal match, have fun with it. Your foe, Li Na, will turn 32 a day after you turn 20 this year. How's that for perspective? Bieber can wait. You can still be his destiny's child on the scene. First things first.
So go show the world what you can do. What's so right about you is that you operate as though you fully expect to be where you are today.
In it to spin it,
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.