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Princess Eugenie is ready to be crowned

sHE is named after a princess.

Eugenie Bouchard and Petra Kvitova have vastly contrasting personalities. Pictures: Dan Kitwood, Clive Brunskill/Getty
Eugenie Bouchard and Petra Kvitova have vastly contrasting personalities. Pictures: Dan Kitwood, Clive Brunskill/Getty

And according to some observers, she has been known to act like one. But today Eugenie Bouchard hopes to be crowned queen of SW19.

The ladies' singles final at this year's Wimbledon pits together two children of the Nineties, but in another way the Canadian and her Czech opponent Petra Kvitova appear generations apart. While there is an endearingly unassuming quality about Kvitova, the 2011 champion, it is equally true that the self-assuredness and brashness of the 20-year-old from Montreal mark her out as a marketing man's dream.

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In press conferences, she effortlessly jumps from one celebrity story to another, referencing the likes of her actor friend Jim Parsons (aka Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory), and piecing together a fantasy Royal Box which includes Oprah Winfrey and her royal namesake, Princess Eugenie. For the record, her monarchy-mad parents Mike and Julie named her non-identical twin Beatrice and her brother William.

The life of Winfrey, who rose from humble beginnings in Mississippi to become a media proprietor with a net worth of $2.7bn, was referenced yesterday by Bouchard in relation to her own progress, even if her beginnings weren't quite so humble. Since the age of 12, she has been ensconced at the Florida academy of Nick Saviano, whose decision to focus his attention mainly on the Canadian has put paid to her childhood friendship with fellow-pupil Laura Robson.

"Oprah is a person I would love to meet," said Bouchard. "I think her story is really special. She came from nothing and built up to this huge empire to become one of the richest women in the world. I would love to hear about her experiences and all those kinds of things. I love stories like that. Justin Bieber is another story like that.

"You know, I've worked really hard in my life too," she added. "So I appreciate other people who have done the same and have these amazing dreams and actually work hard and go out and achieve them. Whatever they earn, it's because of them. As for royalty, I'm going to have to go with Princess Eugenie (whose father Prince Andrew was at Wimbledon yesterday). I mean, it would be amazing to meet someone that you're named after."

It almost goes without saying that Bouchard is en route to earning an awful lot of money. By the age of 20, she has already acquired $1.7m, a figure she can more than double with victory today. Throw in lucrative endorsements from the likes of Coke Canada and she could probably retire already.

As well placed as she is to profit from everything that comes with a Wimbledon victory, she was at pains to point out yesterday that, ultimately, it is all about the game. "First and foremost I focus on the tennis," she said. "Whatever comes with it, you know, I take in stride. I know it's part of the job. I appreciate everything that comes with it. But I know if I don't perform on the court then there's not much off court.

"Justin Bieber hasn't been in touch in the past 24 hours," she added. "I have not gone on Twitter to check marriage proposals. I've been trying to keep my focus and not go on social media too much during the tournament. I do my own tweets and Facebook and things like that, so when I don't do them it's because I'm really not on [social media] and trying to stay focused. Maybe after I'll go back and respond to some. But for now I'm just keeping the blinders on."

For some, uprooting from the family home for Florida at such a young age could have been traumatic. This princess Eugenie seemed to embrace it as her birthright. "I was really excited for the opportunity," she explained. "I wanted to improve my tennis. My parents and I - well, them more than me because I was only 12 - thought it was the right thing to do. But I had my mom with me a lot of the time, my sisters and brother, so, you know, it wasn't a sad time at all. It was very exciting, I was happy to play tennis all day long. It was like my full-time job."

If Bouchard is at all worried about the attention which will follow in the event of her maiden major win, a glimpse across the net today should reassure her that it is possible to emerge from the other side with a grip on normality. Perhaps because of her down-to-earth personality, though, Kvitova admits she struggled to come to terms with the attention which was suddenly lavished on her in the summer of 2011. Despite regularly progressing to the business end of tour competitions, she has made just two major semi-finals since then, having captured six titles in all. Those stastics hardly prove she has realised her supposed destiny as the next Martina Navratilova.

The 24-year-old now resides in the tax haven of Monte Carlo rather than the Czech town of Bilovec, but in most other ways she appears utterly unchanged from the gawky girl who beat Maria Sharapova here three years previously. She feels the knowhow gleaned from that occasion will help, and seems utterly unconcerned that her opponent is claiming all the column inches.

"I learned a lot from it, definitely," said Kvitova. "I mean, it was everywhere. It was a big surprise for me that I found myself in the newspapers and everything. But I'm used to it now and I know how to handle it. I hope this experience can help me.

"The best thing about it was when you see your parents and brothers, your team, and they are all smiling, they are so happy. This kind of thing happens just a few times in your life. The worst thing was that I wasn't really used to the attention. Again this year I'm not really following who is getting more attention than the other. But I'm fine. I'm feeling good, relaxed."

Bouchard's first grand slam final arrives in only her sixth major appearance (the Canadian also reached the semi-finals in both Melbourne and Paris this year), but she does know what it is to taste victory at SW19. In 2011 she won the junior doubles title, a prize she retained in 2012, throwing in the girls' singles title for good measure. With only four females in history having won both the junior and senior titles here, victory for Bouchard today would make her the quickest of all-time to achieve that particular double. This time last year she was 66th in the world, but in the event of a win today she would be sixth. The Canadian is a young woman in a hurry all right. On Centre Court this afternoon, many will expect to witness princess Eugenie making her next move towards ruling the world.

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