Following a scary fall at the US Open, where Eugenie Bouchard slipped and suffered a tournament-ending concussion, the former world No. 5 is taking calculated precautions as she attempts her comeback.
"So, as of right now, no symptoms, but I am constantly being monitored, and I will see how I feel tonight and then tomorrow," Bouchard told ESPN.com via phone Tuesday. "I just take it day by day, kind of week by week now. It's my comeback, so I'm just taking it very slowly, and I'm just so happy to be back in tour. That's the most important thing."
The Canadian completed a match for the first time in four months when she defeated Croatia's Donna Vekic at the Shenzhen Open in China on Tuesday. She said "concussion protocols" set forth by her own medical team prevented her from having a regular preseason training regimen. For more than a month and a half, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist was unable to perform any physical exercise.
Bouchard appeared in just one tournament after last season's US Open, where she retired from her opening-round encounter with Germany's Andrea Petkovic in Beijing because of dizziness.
Bouchard is currently in the middle of a pending lawsuit with the USTA, claiming a "slippery, foreign and dangerous substance'' on the floor of the physiotherapy room of the women's US Open locker room caused her fall. Bouchard declined to comment when asked about the specifics of the case.
But while Bouchard is being vigilant in the steps she needs to take to get back to full strength, she is feeling a sense of optimism.
"I'm feeling OK," she said. "I haven't played a competitive match in a while, and I had a tough three-setter [Tuesday], so I'll see how I feel. I'll definitely be a little bit sore.
"Right now after my match today, I didn't experience any symptoms of the concussion, which was a victory for me, whether I won or lost, so I was very happy with that."
"I think Thomas is a great coach, and I've been with him since the US Open," Bouchard said. "He has a great history. He has worked with a lot of great players. He knows what it takes to be at the top. He's very intense and he really believes in my game a lot."
Bouchard, who is on the verge of falling out of the top 50 (currently No. 49), has had plenty of time to reflect on what was the most difficult year of her career thus far.
"I think there are ups and downs in tennis, just as there are in life, so I'm not too worried about this year because I know I can be a great player," she said. "My goal is to always try to reach that. I'm definitely not focused on my ranking. I'm just happy to be playing tennis and doing my job and doing what I love doing. If I work my hardest and try my best, things will fall into place."