The lawyer for the former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard says he will be pressing for millions of dollars in damages, after Bouchard won her long-awaited court case against the United States Tennis Association.
In a decision reached late on Thursday night, UK time, a jury in Brooklyn found that the USTA should bear 75 per cent of responsibility for a fall at Arthur Ashe Stadium three years ago, which left Bouchard with concussion.
The accident happened when Bouchard - who is 23 - returned to the players’ area after a late-night match and slipped on a cleaning substance that had been left out on the floor of the physiotherapy room. There were no other people present at the time.
Physiotherapist Kristy Stahr, who was the only witness called by the USTA, told the court: “We just assumed that she [Bouchard] had left.”
The USTA’s lawyer also admitted that staff are not supposed to start cleaning the floor until the last player has gone home for the night.
Now the trial will move on to the question of damages – a difficult matter to determine as it requires a judgement to be made on how badly Bouchard’s career was affected by the injury.
Bouchard’s legal team will argue that she is now ranked at No 116 in the world – a long way off her career peak of No 5 in October 2014, just under a year before the accident. And it is not as if this injury was a momentary setback. Bouchard was only able to play one more match in the remainder of 2015, and she was forced to retire from that contest because of dizziness.
On the other hand, the USTA will argue that Bouchard’s fortunes had already been on the wane before she fell. She came into New York as the 25th seed for the US Open, but was showing signs of improvement as she scored wins over Alison Riske, Polona Hercog and Dominika Cibulkova to move into the last 16.
The jury ruled that 25 per cent of responsibility should lie with Bouchard herself, which obliges the USTA to pay three-quarters of any damages awarded.