January 18, 2015 / 5:33 AM / 4 years ago

Raonic, Bouchard carry hopes of Great White North

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic may represent the best hopes of Canada’s first grand slam singles champion but their relative successes have had little impact upon each other, according to Raonic.

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada follows through on a return to Ana Ivanovic of Serbia during their WTA Finals singles tennis match at the Singapore Indoor Stadium October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“What I do, what she does, I don’t think it really affects the other person,” Raonic, the men’s eighth seed at the Australian Open, told reporters on Sunday. “I don’t think it correlates to the other person.

“It’s a good thing to have,” he added in having Bouchard help him put the Great White North on the tennis map.

“But ... it’s about going about and trying to achieve the things you want to achieve.”

Raonic, who plays Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko in the first round at Melbourne Park, and Bouchard had similarly breakout years in 2014.

The 24-year-old Raonic became the first Canadian man to make a grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon, while Bouchard went one better by making the women’s final against Petra Kvitova.

He also finished the year inside the top-10 for the first time (8th), as did Bouchard (7th), and he made the quarter-finals or better at 14 tournaments.

Bouchard also made the semi-finals in Melbourne and Roland Garros and won her first WTA title as well as qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Raonic, who also made the ATP’s season ending finals for the first time, added he felt that he was ready to use 2014 as a springboard towards the grand slam title.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like I’m able to sort of organise my game and do the things I want to do, which is important.”

Bouchard, however, was keen to put 2014 behind her and probably looms as a shorter-priced bet to snare her country’s first grand slam title in 2015.

Her nervous giggles in admitting a slight crush on pop singer Justin Bieber at least year’s tournament, after all, hid a ruthless streak that manifested itself in the last 12 months.

“My past results don’t mean anything when I’m going to walk out on the court tomorrow,” the 20-year-old said ahead of her first round clash with Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam.

“I have great memories from last year, but it doesn’t really mean anything to me this year.”

Bouchard also arrived at Melbourne Park without a permanent coach having parted ways with Nick Saviano, who she had worked with for eight years.

Bouchard and Saviano gave no reasons for their split, though she has said her goal was to win a grand slam title and she indicated on Sunday she needed to change things up if she was going to achieve that.

“I made a lot of changes,” said Bouchard, who has linked with her former childhood coach Diego Alaya for the time being. “Change can be scary, but change can also be good.

“It’s just about adapting now, I think slowly putting the pieces in the right place. I’m feeling good.”

Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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