Tennis star Eugenie Bouchard has spoken of her shock and pain after slipping and falling at the 2015 US Open, for which she is seeking millions in compensation.
The 23-year-old, who has a career-high world ranking of No.5, has sued the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for damages after the fall, which gave her concussion and cut short her tournament at Flushing Meadows.
Speaking about the incident, Bouchard said she instantly screamed after falling.
“I screamed, ‘Oh my God! It burns!'”
She added she was “wearing a sports bra” and, after falling, that “my back was on the floor.
Bouchard said she knew something was up and suspected “strong chemicals, because of the burning [to my skin].”
“It was all over me … I was laying there shocked, staring at the ceiling.”
The accident occurred on September 4 after a late-night mixed doubles match and Bouchard played just one match for the rest of the year after her injury, in Beijing.
She retired from that match after experiencing dizzy spells and is after compensation for “past and future physical and psychological suffering, medical expenses and lost earnings – which include lost prize money, appearance fees, potential endorsement deals and various bonuses”.
Bouchard said the fall was caused by cleaning spray on the floor of what the Canadian alleges was a dimly-lit room.
Previous attempts at mediation have failed and the case is now being heard in a federal court in Brooklyn.
According to the New York Times, “The U.S.T.A has countered Bouchard’s claims of negligence by its tournament staff, contending that she assumed risk by entering the training room after normal hours.”
Bouchard’s lawyer, Benedict Morelli, previously said that he wants “millions and millions” of dollars to compensate the tennis player.
The long road back
Bouchard reached No.5 in the world rankings in an excellent 2014 season highlighted by a run to the Wimbledon final.
She also made the last four at two other grand slams in that year, but has struggled for form since.
That was both before – and after – this incident, with Bouchard’s singles ranking plummeting to 116th.
She remains a high-profile player and reached the second round of January’s Australian Open, losing to eventual finalist and former world No.1 Simona Halep.