Less than two weeks after labelling former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova a "cheater" and calling for her lifetime ban from tennis, Eugenie Bouchard got her revenge on the court, knocking the Russian star out of the second round of the Madrid Open on Monday.
In a match that the Montreal, Quebec, native admitted had special meaning to her because of the circumstances surrounding Sharapova's return, Bouchard survived a near three-hour battle to take the match in three sets 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, with, apparently, a whole bunch of support from fellow players on tour.
"I was actually quite inspired before the match because I had a lot of players coming up to me privately wishing me good luck, players I don't normally speak to," Bouchard told the Associated Press. "It showed me that most people have my opinion, and they were just maybe scared to speak out."
World No. 1 Serena Williams appears to be one of those players in the corner of the No. 60 ranked player in the world—liking the above tweet that Bouchard posted following her victory.
Sharapova successfully appealed a two-year ban for testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, and saw her suspension reduced to 15 months, leaving her eligible to play in the Stuttgart and Madrid opens, two tournaments in which she received wild card entries. That special treatment didn't sit well with many WTA players, and Bouchard was among the most outspoken.
"I mean, I don't think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again. It's so unfair to all the other players who do it the right way and are true," Bouchard told Turkish TV before the Istanbul Cup last month.
"I think from the WTA it send the wrong message to young kids, you know 'cheat and we'll welcome you back with open arms.' I don't think that's right and [she's] definitely not someone I can say I look up to anymore."
After Bouchard took down Sharapova on Monday, the two met at midcourt for the traditional post-match handshake, but this was a little less traditional than most. When asked about the words exchanged between the two, Bouchard, as per usual, didn't hold anything back, throwing some more shade Sharapova's way.
"She said, 'Well played,'" explained Bouchard, according to the BBC. "And I think she's been playing really well in her so-called comeback, if you want to call it that."