Eugenie Bouchard says she felt ‘inspired’ to win her Mutua Madrid Open second-round match against Maria Sharapova on Monday.
The Canadian came through a gruelling contest that lasted almost three hours, eventually prevailing 7-5 2-6 6-4.
There was always going to be an element of niggle about the match, as Bouchard had previously branded Sharapova a ‘cheat’ following the Russian’s return from a drug ban at the recent Stuttgart Open.
Bouchard insists she is not the only player who feels it was wrong for Sharapova to return to the WTA circuit, revealing other players sent her messages of good luck.
“I was inspired because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately, wishing me good luck,” said Bouchard.
“They were players I don’t normally speak to and I got a lot of texts from people in the tennis world that were just rooting for me. I wanted to do it for myself, but also for all these people.
“Some girls in the locker room were coming up to me and really wishing me good luck which doesn’t normally happen.
It showed me that most people have my opinion and they were just maybe scared to speak out.”
The 23-year-old’s reward for the victory is a third-round encounter with two-time major winner Angelique Kerber, who is set to return to number one in the world rankings following the conclusion of the event in the Spanish capital.
Bouchard has not won on the WTA Tour since her triumph at the Nuremberg Cup almost three years ago. She is priced at 29.00 to end her drought this week.