The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has said that it is not to blame for Eugenie Bouchard's fall at the US Open, an incident which saw the Canadian instigate legal proceedings.
Bouchard slipped and hit her head in the locker rooms after a late-night match at the US Open in September. She suffered a concussion and withdrew from the US Open prior to her fourth round match.
The 21-year-old has since missed four tournaments as a result of lingering effects of the injury, and on returning to the court at the China Open in October was forced to pull out of her opening match citing dizziness.
Bouchard filed suit against the USTA and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in October, and on Friday the USTA responded to the claim's by filing a 16-page rebuttal.
The USTA has asserted that Bouchard did not follow protocol and refused offers of medical attention after the fall.
In her complaint, Bouchard said that she had slipped on “a slippery, foreign and dangerous substance on the floor.” The USTA do not dispute this, but contend that her assertions that the room was dark are incorrect, asserting that even when the main lights are off, "twilight lighting" is present at Flushing Meadows.
The USTA have said "as a highly ranked and/or seeded professional tennis player, the plaintiff was experienced and well-versed in the procedures and protocols of the women's tour" and "knew or should have known the procedures and protocol as they related to the operation of the physiotherapy room".
According to the USTA, Bouchard violated this protocol as she not have been in the physiotherapy room where the fall occurred as she "did not have the express consent of, or accompaniment of, authorized personnel.”
The case is now set to be heard by a jury.