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Genie (And Her “Army”) Marching Towards Tennis Stardom

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The Genie Army. Image: @Channel7. Permission from Genie Army.
The Genie Army. Image: @Channel7. Permission from Genie Army.

Eugenie “Genie” Bouchard from Montreal, Quebec, recently made tennis history for her country.

She made it to the semi-final round of a tournament called the Australian Open.

The Australian Open is one of four ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments that tennis players participate in during the tennis season. The four Grand Slam tournaments, also called majors, are the most important tennis events and they attract a lot of attention. The other Grand Slam events are the French Open (in May/June), Wimbledon (in June/July), and the US Open (in August/September).

Bouchard is the 30th ranked female tennis player in the world. On Monday she played against Ana Ivanovic, the 14th ranked female tennis player in the world. Ivanovic had just recently beaten the world-number-one ranked female tennis player, Serena Williams. With that huge win, Ivanovic seemed poised to beat Bouchard.

However, Bouchard had other plans. She played one of the best matches of her life. Incredibly, she beat the higher ranked Ivanovic. The win may have come as a surprise to many because of the difference in their rankings. The 19-year-old Bouchard, though, is playing with a lot of confidence. Even Martina Navratilova, one of the greatest tennis players ever, announced that “a star is born,” after seeing Genie play.

As well, about a dozen fans in Australia have taken a liking to Bouchard. They call themselves the “Genie Army” and they recite fun, wild chants to encourage the young Canadian star. They have also been presenting her with toy stuffies in the shape of Australian animals, after each match. After Bouchard played Ivanovic, they gave her a stuffed Wombat.

Bouchard is the first Canadian tennis player in singles play to make the semi-finals of a major in 30 years. It was 1984 when Toronto native, Carling Bassett, made it to the semi-finals in the US Open.

In the semi-finals on Wednesday, Bouchard lost to her opponent, the 2011 French Open winner and current number-four ranked player in the world, Li Na from China.

Even though she didn’t win the match, Bouchard won the hearts of millions of Canadians–and a handful of likeable and enthusiastic Aussies known as her “army.”

Note: At press time, Eugenie Bouchard had not yet played her semi-final match against Li Na. The article was subsequently updated to reflect the outcome of the semi-final match.

Related link
To listen to a CBC interview with a member of the Genie Army, visit the CBC’s website.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
In the article, Bouchard is described as “playing with a lot of confidence.” How important is confidence in sports? Do you think confidence and skill are equally important – why or why not?

Other than confidence and skill, what other characteristics do championship athletes need to have in order to be successful?

Reading Prompt: Responding to Texts
The Genie Army gives Eugenie Bouchard a stuffed animal after every match. The last time, they gave her a wombat. What other Australian animals can you name? What else do you know about Australia?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them  (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Ordinal Numbers
An ordinal number shows the place or ranking of someone or something. For example, Bouchard was ranked as the 30th female tennis player and she played against the 14th player and won.

Write out the following numbers as ordinals:
1
five
one-hundred
24
333