Game Set and PR Love Match

20 February 2017 | Lloyd Hughes

The recent Super Bowl result left fans of the sport reeling as the New England Patriots, faced with a seemingly insurmountable deficit to overcome the Atlanta Falcons, ended up doing just that to claim the win.

It seemed like the game was a done deal, with the Patriots down 28-3 in the third-quarter. Canadian tennis player Eugenie ‘Genie’ Bouchard certainly seemed to think so saying on Twitter “I knew Atlanta would win btw.

A plucky Patriots fan instantly popped up replying “if patriots win we go on a date?” Bouchard, understandably thinking this was a remote possibility, causally replied with “Sure.”

And then the unthinkable happened, the Patriots won, meaning the unthinkable also happened for the fan. Bouchard stuck by her promise and took him to a basketball match after sorting out minor details such as who he really was and where he lived etc.

The whole story dominated the news to such a point that the actual Patriots’ win seemingly became a secondary issue – in the UK at least.

Bouchard, while once having been a Wimbledon finalist, is currently ranked number 43 in the World ATP rankings, which, while impressive, isn’t exactly superstar territory.

I’m a fair-weather tennis fan, enjoying Wimbledon (the men’s mainly), before turning my attention to other sports for the rest of the year. My knowledge of the female game is limited to say the least, as I could probably name five female players (if that) in the top 50. However, Bouchard is one of those five. But that’s not down to her playing ability.

It’s a common theme in tennis, that looks often elevates you higher than your playing profile and Bouchard has certainly embraced this. I can’t say I blame her. After all, if you’ve got it flaunt it – she’d be silly to turn down eager sponsors.

This whole episode has seen Bouchard raking in the press coverage (gold dust for sponsors), causing a further cascade of stories after seemingly agreeing to a second date in a post-date interview with TMZ.

The whole scenario has been a well-managed publicity stunt, after all, choosing a high-profile basketball game and sitting courtside in full view of the cameras wasn’t just happenstance.

And I’m not really sure what Genie Bouchard’s professional ice-hockey playing boyfriend makes of this. His existence seems curiously absent from most of the coverage, but I suppose that might spoil the narrative somewhat.

Kudos to Bouchard for sticking to her word. I’m sure there are plenty of Patriots fans cursing the missed opportunity and wishing they'd been as quick off the draw on the tweets.