Sunday 22 April 2018

Eugenie Bouchard sues US tennis association over fall on 'slippery and dangerous substance'

Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard

Simon Briggs

Eugenie Bouchard’s nightmarish year took an unexpected turn when it emerged that she is suing the United States Tennis Association for negligence.

The lawsuit relates to her fall in the locker-room at Flushing Meadows  on Sept 4, when she sustained a concussion that continues to keep her off the match court.

Bouchard alleges that the cause of her fall – which happened around midnight after she had played a mixed-doubles match and then performed her media duties – was a “slippery, foreign and dangerous substance” that had been left on the floor of the locker-room.

The substance involved is not specified in the case papers.

In an interview with the New York Times, her lawyer Benedict Morelli said that the organisers of the US Open were using the substance in question to clean the floor, and had not intended it to be present when people were still using the facilities.

“If they were going to do that, they should have closed the door and locked it off,” Morelli said. “And they didn’t do that.”

Bouchard was forced to pull out of the US Open because of the accident and is still suffering symptoms such as dizziness and light sensitivity.

She attempted to return to tournament action in Beijing on Oct 6, but found herself unable to complete the match against Andrea Petkovic. According to Morelli, the lawsuit calls for a jury trial and could be worth “millions and millions”.

It also cites the ongoing fall in her ranking, which stood inside the top ten as recently as June but was No. 25 at the start of the US Open and has now slumped to No. 39.

Bouchard, who is 21, was one of the shining lights of the 2014 season, in which she reached the Wimbledon final as well as the semi-finals of the two preceding grand slams. She suffered an alarming loss of form early this season, however, with a sequence of 10 defeats in 11 matches at one point, while also courting controversy with her refusal to shake hands with Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania before a Fed Cup tie.

“It’s nothing personal towards her,” Bouchard said at the time. “I just don’t believe in wishing my opponent good luck before the match.”

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