Duelling Genie armies in Montreal

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada reacts to winning the first set during her women's singles semi-final...

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada reacts to winning the first set during her women's singles semi-final tennis match. REUTERS/Suzanne

Brian Daly, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:13 AM ET

It's a tale of two Genie armies at the Rogers Cup.

Both groups of Eugenie Bouchard fans made a trek to get to Montreal; and both scored free tickets from Tennis Canada to cheer on their idol, but that's about where the similarities end.

The Aussie Genie Army has been known worldwide since their debut at the Australian Open in January and they've become minor celebrities, taking part in official Rogers Cup events in Montreal.

Just as passionate is the lesser-known Genie Army Canada, seven red-and-white clad faithful from Becancour, Que.

They're making the four-hour round trip to Montreal every day to scream their heads off and wave a huge "Genie Army Canada" banner during her matches.

Founder Jean-Christope Lemay says he and his friends have been Bouchard's mobile cheering section since the winter.

"In February, we went to the Fed Cup in Montreal, then we were at the Fed Cup in Quebec City,;" Lemay, 20, told QMI Agency on Tuesday, prior to Bouchard's opening match.

Tennis Canada hooked them up with seats for the whole week to make noise and get camera time, to help plug Canada's newest sports superstar.

Not to be outdone, the Aussie Genie Army has also scored free food and an apartment for the week.

Sarah Biviano, the only girl in the group, says they needed the freebies, since they blew their budget to get here.

All are in their 20s and took time off work or school to make the trip.

"It's been a bit of a juggling act but it's been worth it to come down here, especially with all the hype around and everything," said Biviano. "We're definitely glad that we did."

They won't have the money to follow Genie to the U.S. Open but Canadian reinforcements are gearing up to join the global Genie love-fest.

"Everyone's part of the Genie army," said Biviano.

NOTHING BUT A NUMBER

A trio of tennis vets are telling Father Time to take a hike at the Rogers Cup.

Doubles competitor Kimiko Date-Krumm‎ is older than Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, the tournament's latest Hall of Fame inductee.

First-round singles winner Venus Williams turned pro in October 1994, when Eugenie Bouchard was eight months old.

Doubles entrant Martina‎ Hingis joined the WTA the same month as Williams.

But who's counting, right?

‎Tennis's grand Dames are too busy competing to reminisce about the good ol' days.

"I still move really well, still serve really well‎, still hit big," said seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, 34, fresh off beating a Russian foe 11 years her junior.

‎"The things that would stop me would be (if) I'm not good anymore‎, I don't want to play or I have kids."

Date-Krumm, who turns 44 in September, decided way back in 1996 that she didn't want to play anymore.

But the Tokyo native had a change of heart in 2008, surprising observers by winning several junior ITF titles and one WTA event while pushing 40.

Date-Krumm believes lots of Chinese tea has helped her career’s longevity and also credits the WTA’s age-eligibility rule, which caps the number of top-level tournaments teenagers can play.

"Players are being more selective of how they play," Williams said of her and sister Serena's tendency to play fewer events than most foes.

"Physically and emotionally you just cannot go that hard and be prepared for 11 months out of the year."

‎Pacing has paid off for both Williams sisters.

Serena, at 32, is the oldest No. 1 player in history and looks poised to add to her 17 Grand Slams.

A fit and trim Hingis was quick on her feet Tuesday, teaming up with 32-year-old Italian Flavia Pennetta to win their first doubles match.

The Swiss Miss says there's no chance of a return to singles play but she expects to keep winning as long as she only has to cover half the court.

"I don't want to just play one or two matches. I'm there to win the tournaments."


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