Ex-Wimbledon beauty Genie Bouchard adopts new sport after failed tennis comeback

Former Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard has taken up a new sport after failing to resurrect her tennis career.

The Canadian beauty, who was ranked World No. 5 only a few years ago, has joined the professional pickleball tour, suggesting that she might have given tennis up for good.

Pickleball, which is like a cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, is the fastest growing sports in the US. Played on a small court, players hit a perforated ball back and forth and score points when it bounces twice on the opponent's half of the court.

An estimated 36million people played the game last year and courts are popping up all over North America.

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Announcing her arrival on Instagram, the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) wrote: "With one of the biggest signings of the year. Genie Bouchard, professional tennis star with a WTA #5 career high in singles, joins the PPA Tour in 2024!"

Bouchard, 29, was once of the hottest (in more ways than one) prospects in women's tennis, especially after reaching the semi-finals of both the Australian Open and the French Open as well as the final of Wimbledon in 2014, aged just 20.

She was beaten by Petra Kvitova in the showpiece match on Centre Court, and hasn't been beyond the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam since.

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Poor form and injury troubles curtailed her career for the next few years and in 2021 she took a 17-month hiatus from tennis.

She planned to return at Wimbledon last year, but withdrew from the competition following the WTA's decision not to award ranking points to the Championship due to organisers' decision to exclude Russian and Belorussian players in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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After making her official comeback in August last year, a series of emphatic defeats saw her finish the year ranked World No. 323. She then lost in the opening round of this year's Australian Open, and withdrew from the French Open without given a clear reason.

She then lost in the first qualifying round for Wimbledon in straights sets, a match which, at the time of writing, looks to be her very last in the sport.

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