SPORTS

Bouchard's status unclear as Tennis Canada announces roster for Fed Cup tie

04/08/2015 11:41 EDT | Updated 06/08/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - Canada may be missing tennis star Eugenie Bouchard for a second straight Fed Cup, exposing the country's lack of depth as it prepares to face Romania in a crucial tie this month.

Bouchard, ranked seventh on the WTA Tour, was not on list of three players named by Tennis Canada on Wednesday for the World Group tie April 18-19 against Romania at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal.

Francoise Abanda of Montreal, Sharon Fichman of Toronto and Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa are on the team. A spot was left open for Bouchard, but the Westmount, Que., native skipped Canada's 4-0 loss to the Czech Republic in February and may chose do the same again in order to work on her clay-court game.

"It's a lot to ask of Genie to always be there every single Fed Cup tie," team captain Sylvain Bruneau said. "Top 10 players don't always show up for Fed Cup or Davis Cup every time.

"We need to be in a situation where other players can share the load. Genie's done extremely well for us, but we'd like to be able to do well even when she's not around."

Romania's top player, third-ranked Simona Halep, has chosen to skip the Fed Cup, but the Romanians have Irina-Camelia Begu (ranked 36th), Alexandra Dulgheru (62nd), Antreea Mitu (107th) and Raluca Olaru (840th) to fall back on.

Aleksandra Wozniak, Canada's second best singles player, is out with a shoulder injury. Dabrowski, mainly a doubles player, is ranked 177th in singles, Fichman, who is coming off an injury, is 206th and Abanda is 243rd.

As was the case against the Czech Repubic in Quebec City, Canada will have home-court advantage, but will be hard-pressed to match Romania's skill.

Bouchard was the driving force in getting Canada into the prestigious World Group for the first time. Without her, it will be difficult to stay. A loss to Romania will drop Canada into the second-level World Group II in 2016.

"The reality is, if you're in World Group I, you need a star player, a top 10, but you also need depth," said Bruneau. "That's something we need to work.

"We have to get better so that we're in a situation where Eugenie doesn't feel that it's all about her and that otherwise we can't win. I'd like to be a position where other girls are able to take the load. That's something we have to aspire to if we really want to be in World Group I and remain there."

Bruneau said he is in contact with Bouchard's team and there is a chance she will decide to play. It may help that it is in her home town. The captains of each team can make two changes or additions to their roster before the tie.

However, Bouchard started the clay season at the Family Circle Cup this week in Charleston, S.C., and may not want to switch back to a hardcourt for Fed Cup. She is to leave for Europe soon for the run of clay court events leading up to the French Open.

"There is a chance she's here, but at this point, we can't confirm it yet," said Bruneau.

MORE:cpSports