Alexandra Dulgheru, No. 69 in the world, handed No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard her fourth consecutive loss on Saturday, beating the Canadian 6-4, 6-4 on Day 1 of the Fed Cup World Group Playoff tie between Canada and Romania in Montreal. While Bouchard continued to struggle with her rhythm and consistency, it's what happened before and after the match that had people talking.
Bouchard doesn't want to be phony. That's why she says she refuses to shake hands with her opponents at the Fed Cup draw ceremonies. Bouchard debuted the no-handshake move last year when Canada played Slovakia, calling the tradition “lame.” On Friday she stuck to her guns, refusing to shake Dulgheru's hand during this year's ceremony.
Watch the snub here:
It's even better in GIF form:
“It's nothing personal towards her,” Bouchard said. “I just don't believe in wishing my opponent good luck before the match. But after we play tomorrow I will shake her hand no matter what happens.”
The swaggy “no handshake for you” move might work when you're winning, but it can make things awkward when you're mired in a slump. Bouchard's last-minute decision to play this weekend's Fed Cup tie came after yet another early exit in the Family Circle Cup, which marked her third consecutive loss. Unfortunately for Bouchard, things weren't much better on Saturday. Motivated by Bouchard snubbing her at the draw ceremony and knowing that Romania needed a win to level the tie at 1-1 after Day 1, Dulgheru stepped up to secure the victory.
After match point, Dulgheru ran over to the Romanian bench to shake ha—oh, nope. There was no handshake with the bench. Dulgheru and the team had pre-planned a handshake fakeout celebration in the event she pulled off the upset. It was perfect:
And again, it's even better as a GIF:
Here's what the two had to say after the match:
Dulgheru calls out Bouchard for no handshake Fri. "It's a contradiction to values" of Fed Cup's spirit, competition and fair play, she said.— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) April 18, 2015
Dulgheru on not shaking her coaches hands (in jest) post-win: "It was a response to what Genie did. It was more our joke. Nothing personal."— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) April 18, 2015
Alexandra Dulgheru says Eugenie Bouchard not shaking hands with her yesterday "maybe motivated me more."— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) April 18, 2015
Bouchard says she "doesn't believe" in wishing an opponent well before a match. "It's nothing personal against her or her country," she said— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) April 18, 2015
Bouchard says she'd be "lying" and it would be "fake" to shake an opponents' hand pre-match.— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) April 18, 2015
Earlier in the day, 18-year-old Francoise Abanda put Canada in a winning position when she pulled off the upset over No. 33 Irina-Camelia Begu, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Barring any lineup changes on Sunday, Bouchard will play Begu and Abanda will play Dulgheru. The winner of the tie will play in the top-tier World Group next year.