Melbourne: Eugenie Bouchard insisted on Tuesday she was thrilled to face Serena Williams in the Australian Open second round, saying it will provide a gauge of how her comeback is progressing.
The former Wimbledon finalist has targeted 2019 as the year she will rejoin the tennis elite after a slide down the rankings to number 79 in the world.
But after a 6-2, 6-1 first round win over China's Peng Shuai, the Canadian finds herself drawn against a fired-up Williams, who is chasing a record-equalling 24th Slam at Melbourne Park.
Most would complain about meeting her so early in the tournament but Bouchard said it was an honour to test herself against "the greatest ever".
"Her ranking is top 20 right now, but to me, she's always basically number one," she said.
"I admire the longevity of her career, her dominance over such a long amount of time, how she's come back so many times from injury, pregnancy."
Bouchard has lost her only two meetings with Williams, who is gunning for her eighth Australian title.
The American was full of praise for Bouchard's determination to return to the pinnacle of the sport.
"She does everything well, and I really like that she doesn't quit," Williams said.
"People write her off and she doesn't let that bother her. She continues to fight and do what she needs to do. I think that's really good."
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Updated Date: Jan 15, 2019 13:04:41 IST