In a press conference Tuesday, Bouchard squashed any possibilities for the media to run away with a feel-good narrative when she takes on Sharapova in a semifinal Thursday at the French Open.
“We’re not friends, so there is that,” Bouchard said. “Of course as a child I looked up to her, and I remember watching her in the finals of Wimbledon and, you know, thought what she was doing was so cool, and I wanted to do the same thing. We’re in the semis of a Grand Slam, so I’m going to respect her but not put her too high on a pedestal and really just battle.”
Some media outlets tried to brew the friendship story with a photo taken of the two when Sharapova was 15 and Bouchard was 8. Bouchard also has a deal with Nike to wear Sharapova’s clothing line.
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Bouchard succeeded in quelling people’s desire to turn one photo of the two of them into the idea that they’re best buds. That doesn’t make them enemies, however.
“I don’t think the tennis tour is the place to have friends.” Bouchard said. “For me it’s all competition. I think it’s important to just remember that we’re going to play against each other in matches. It’s not like we’re teammates. To me, it’s kind of more competitive.”
Sharapova mirrored Bouchard’s sentiments.
“I treat my career and my work as a very serious profession, and I know that what has got me my success is the fact that I’m a big competitor and that I don’t want to give anyone a chance,” Sharapova said. “I was never here from day one to make friendships. This is a battlefield for me, and I want to win.”