Genie Bouchard Opens Up About Overcoming Critique on the Tennis Court

The athlete wants to disregard the stigma around mental health in professional tennis.
Genie Bouchard
Genie Bouchard / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For Canadian professional tennis player Genie Bouchard, opening up about her mental health wasn’t always an option. As an athlete, she has spent much of her adult life in the spotlight. Since she made a name for herself on the WTA circuit in her early 20s, the media has consistently speculated about both her mindset and her preparedness to play.

Now, she’s opening up about the pressures. In the latest episode of Brandon Saho’s The Mental Game podcast, Bouchard talked about the pressures she felt to perform and to mask her own mental health struggles. “I was going through a really tough time, and I couldn’t talk about it or else I’d be labeled weak or [a] failure,” she explained.

Eventually, Bouchard realized that she didn’t want to be just the sum of her wins and losses on the court. “I didn’t want to tie every single tennis match result to my soul and my identity,” she said. But that turned out to be a tough reality to escape from. During difficult stretches, the media questioned her poor results, implying that perhaps she was focused on the wrong things. Eventually, after hearing enough negativity, she started “to believe it [her]self,” she noted.

But with maturity, perspective and therapy, Bouchard has come out on the other side of it. She learned to stop worrying about the opinions of those beyond her inner circle. She became more comfortable with the possibility of not always playing her best tennis when she accepted the fact that it “won’t change my life whether I win or lose,” she said.

Now, according to Saho, she “wants to help break the stigma in tennis” around mental health.

Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.