Bouchard’s horror: ‘Oh God, it burns!’
CANADIAN tennis star Eugenie Bouchard, once ranked No. 5 in the world, told a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, that she screamed out in pain after a 2015 slip-and-fall at the US Open.
"I screamed, 'Oh my God, it burns!'" Bouchard testified of slipping on chemical cleaning spray and falling flat on her bare back as she headed to take a post-match ice bath.
She walked through the room - a locker and bathing room for trainers - wearing nothing but shorts, a sports bra and flip flops, she said.
"I was wearing a sports bra … my back was on the floor," she told a jury, recalling how she realised her skin had come in contact with "strong chemicals, because of the burning".
"It was all over me," she said of the chemicals.
The 23-year-old is on the witness stand two years after she slipped and hit her head in the US Open training room. The resulting concussion cut short her appearance in the Queens-based tournament, she is alleging.
Bouchard sued the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which runs the Open, soon after the 2015 fall, arguing that the organisation was at fault in applying a slippery cleaning spray to the floor of a dimly-lit room.
After the fall, she withdrew from that year's event and was sidelined for months after. Bouchard is currently ranked 116th in the world and has not been able to replicate the success she had earlier in her career, when she reached the finals at Wimbledon in 2014.
The USTA has countered that Bouchard should not have been in the training room without a trainer, and that she slipped and fell at 11pm at night, when she should have known the training room would be being cleaned.
The spray was applied only after management believed everyone had gone home for the night, a lawyer for the USTA told jurors.
But on Thursday (AEDT), under direct examination by her lawyer Benedict Morelli, Bouchard told jurors that nothing in the 2015 US Open player's handbook stated time limits on the training room, or that players needed to be accompanied by a trainer.
"There are no specific hours," she recalled.
Bouchard was last in the news earlier this month, for dishing online about making good on her Twitter-bet promise to date a University of Missouri marketing student.
"If patriots win we go on a date?" the bold student, John Goehrke, had dared Bouchard last February, as the Atlanta Falcons held a 25-point lead over the Pats.
Quarterback Tom Brady turned the game around, and within a couple of weeks the pair were spotted courtside at a Brooklyn Nets game. They went on another date at last year's Super Bowl.
Though her tennis career remains up in the air, Bouchard's modelling career has been a smash hit. Just recently she posed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for the second year running.