Professional tennis player Eugenie Bouchard has filed a lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association after she slipped and fell whilst in a locker room during the U.S. Open.
Claims of Negligence
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, Bouchard claims that her fall was the result of a slippery, dangerous foreign substance which was on the floor. Bouchard says that due to the fall she has suffered a severe head injury, causing her to have no choice other than to withdraw from the tournament. As a result of this injury she has also withdrawn from a separate tournament that she was due to compete in in China.
The suit alleges that:
According to the suit, the defendants have caused or created this dangerous substance, or knew or should have been aware that it was present on the floor. They also failed to provide Bouchard with any clear warnings or make her aware of potential hazards caused by this substance.
According to the lawsuit filed by Bouchard, the USTA, tennis’ national governing body, has been allegedly negligent. The suit seeks damages which are yet to be specified, however Bouchard’s lawyer Benedict Morelli told the New York Times that
Since the accident, Bouchard has only played one match, in which she retired against Andrea Petkovic at the China Open. Roberta Vinci, whom Bouchard was due to face in the fourth round at the U.S. Open went on to upset Serena Williams during the semifinals, before losing the final to Flavia Penetta.
Although Vinci beat Bouchard around two weeks earlier at the Connecticut Open, based on ranking the Canadian player was favored to win.
2015 China Open First Round | Andrea Petkovic vs Genie Bouchard |
The accident could not have come at a worse time for Bouchard, as the tennis player had begun the year in a complete contrast to 2014, where she became the first Canadian player to make a grand slam singles final at Wimbledon. This year her performance had stuttered, starting off well with a solid quarterfinal showing at the Australian Open but then seeing her results dip, losing 14 of her 18 matches due to being hampered by injuries and an unstable coaching set up.
Named the world’s most marketable athlete this year, last year’s Wimbledon finalist is seeking actual, compensatory, and statutory damages as well as punitive damages, and has requested a jury trial.
When asked to comment on the lawsuit, Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the USTA, said that the governing body has a longstanding policy not to discuss any ongoing litigation. The WTA did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, and a request made through Bouchard’s agent to speak with her was not immediately acknowledged.
Since the incident, Bouchard says that her world ranking has already decreased by thirteen spots, and she believes that it will most likely continue to drop.