Regardless if a Canadian woman wins a gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Quebec should still be considered a favourite to win the 2014 Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the Canadian female athlete of the year for a second straight year after her performance at the Australian Open that ended Wednesday.
And the bottom line, is Bouchard is already more deserving through the third week of January in 2014 than she was the entire calendar year of 2013.
Bouchard was impressive this week at the Australian Open in becoming only the second tennis player ever to qualify for the semi-finals in a grand slam tennis tournament. Sure she lost in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 to former French Open champion Li Na of China, but she went a place where only one other Canadian has ever gone before. At the 1984 U.S. Open, Carling Bassett-Seguso lost 6-2, 6-2 to Chris Evert of the United States in the women's semi-finals before Evert lost the final that year to Martina Navritolova.
Sure, Bouchard had luck go her way. She did not need to face the powerful Serena Williams of the United States after the reigning Olympic gold medalist was upset by Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the quarterfinals, and only needed to play one seeded player-- the inconsistent Ivanovic on her way to the semi-finals. But the fact that Bouchard advanced to the semi-finals in her very first Australian Open appearance should be celebrated throughout Canada. Oh, and lest we forget, because Bouchard advanced to the semi-finals, she is $540,000 richer in the pocket book. That's a nice way to start off the new year.