What started as a Super Bowl meet-cute has transformed into an all-out publicity push into New York by tennis starlet Genie Bouchard.
Bouchard, the 22-year-old Canadian up-and-comer with an outsized social media following, garnered lots of (positive) attention last week for agreeing to uphold the terms of her Twitter bet — she would go on a date with a courageous college student if the Patriots somehow came back from a 25-point deficit and won.
And she’s kept the spotlight on this week. The big night for 20-year-old John Goehrke arrived Wednesday in all its stage-managed glory: The young mixed doubles team dated in the intimate setting of front row at Barclays Center (with clear sight lines for the shutterbugs). Every step of the evening was thoroughly chronicled on Bouchard’s Instagram account.
Goehrke revealed some of the making-of moments in an interview with Fox Sports, which included such organic first-date scenes as “I got a ride over to her hotel and had one NBA media member in the car with me” and “We took pictures out front and she had me kiss her on the cheek for the last pic, so I thought that was a good way to end the night.”
The TMZ takeaway was “she’s down for a 2nd date!!” — which would be thrilling for Goehrke if not for the narratively inconvenient reality of Bouchard having a real boyfriend. Instagram sleuths connected Bouchard to inner-thigh-touching professional hockey player Jordan Caron by his left arm tattoos and their recent geographically overlapping vacations photos.
Bouchard’s highly visible date Wednesday night naturally unspooled Thursday morning into the media rounds — all of which coincided with plugging her appearance in the newest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Among her appearances was a guest spot on sports radio with Carton and Chris Christie — during which Christie regaled Bouchard and SI Swimsuit colleague Kate Bock with his try-the-meatloaf tale from the White House. Thursday night was a red carpet for SI.
To top it all off, Bouchard — who made the Wimbledon finals in 2014 and rose as high as No. 5 in the rankings — was announced Thursday as a member of the New York Empire in this summer’s World Team Tennis circuit, building several more Big Apple appearances into her 2017 schedule.
Bouchard’s inroads into the world’s media capital are raising her profile beyond the baselines of mid-level tennis stardom. Whatever she’s doing, it’s working.