Serena Williams may be 16th in the world rankings but the 23-time grand slam champion will always be number one in Eugenie Bouchard’s eyes.
Williams made a stunning start at the Australian Open on Tuesday with a 6-0 6-2 victory over Tatjana Maria, only needing 49 minutes to book her spot in round two.
She will meet Bouchard next after the Canadian overcame Peng Shuai in similarly dominant fashion, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist winning 6-2 6-1.
Facing Williams will be “super” exciting for Bouchard, who told a media conference the 37-year-old is a big inspiration for her.
Asked if there was anything she admired about Serena, Bouchard replied: “IF there is anything?”
“Well, it’s a long list. I mean, I think she’s, you know, the greatest ever.
.@geniebouchard is rediscovering her love for the game
“I’m really enjoying it on the court…before today I was so nervous, and I told my coach, and he was, like, ‘That’s good. It means you care.'”#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/NnUSvGlUBu
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2019
“So it’s just so cool that I’ll be able to share the court with her and an opportunity to see how I compare to one of the best players.
“I mean, her ranking is top 20 right now, but to me she’s always basically number one.
“I admire obviously the longevity of her career, her dominance over such a long amount of time, how she’s come back so many times from injury, pregnancy, et cetera.
“I don’t want to talk about it too much and put her on too much of a pedestal because I have to play her in two days, but I love her.”
Bouchard has lost both her previous meetings with Williams, the last coming at the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore.