Which Swiss tennis player is the best
Belinda Bencic says: "I need someone who pushes and drives me"
The non-competitive time was not easy for Belinda Bencic. She suddenly had to settle down, practically only training. She says she missed the WTA tour.
Until recently, this was just an empty phrase, but during the Corona era the question became established: How are you?
Good thank you. I feel relaxed and am building up for the new season.
The arm injury that forced you to give up Roland-Garros and ended your season has been healed?
Yes, it wasn't that bad either. It was just a bit unlucky that the complaints arose just before such an important tournament. The fact that I then canceled the season entirely was more of a precautionary measure. After Paris there were practically no tournaments on the women's tour. So I didn't take any chances and allowed myself enough time to recover.
You were recently in the Maldives for a few days. Did you find a little distance from the corona crisis there?
Yes, although the trip was an alternative program. Originally I wanted to visit my parents in Switzerland, but I couldn't have trained because of the quarantine. That's why we switched to the Maldives. I've already started preparing for the coming season there. It was important for me to break out of the routine for a few days.
You have only played one match on the WTA tour since the end of February. How far away from tennis are you?
Although there were hardly any tournaments, I played tennis all summer - including at the Interclub here in Slovakia, in the Czech Republic and later also in Switzerland. I felt very good, I hardly lost a match. It was really bad luck that I got injured just before the tour started again.
For you, the games at Interclub must have been like returning to a world that you have basically left behind.
I really enjoyed it. I've loved playing interclub before. After the lockdown, it was liberating to be back on the pitch. But of course it cannot be compared with the WTA tour. I'm really looking forward to the coming season and hope that we can play in a reasonably normal framework again. I miss the tour a lot now.
As an athlete, you live for competitions. Now you've practically just trained for nine months. Will you lose your motivation at some point?
At the moment I don't have any motivation problems. The next season is near. I have a goal in mind. But there were also difficult moments - especially in summer. Several times I prepared for a tournament that was then canceled. These were always setbacks. But in the end I still had to go on. Fortunately, I have a team around me that has always lifted me up and re-motivated me.
The fitness trainer Martin Hromkovic is also your life partner. Did that help, or did it make the situation even more difficult?
That helps me. I need someone who pushes and drives me. If I had to work for myself alone, I don't know how it would have happened then. Mainly because it was a longer phase in which I only worked on my fitness.
How good is your shape right now?
That is difficult to say. I miss the comparisons. But I have faith in what I'm doing. I haven't changed the basic way of preparing for a season because of Corona. And I know that in the end I was able to keep up with the best. But getting back on the tour is guaranteed to be weird. I don't expect to play at the top level in the first match.
For the second time in your career you were stopped at the very moment when you established yourself in the top 10. The first time it was injuries, this time it was a virus. How frustrating is that?
What happened this time is beyond my control. That's why it didn't bother me too much. I know: Even if I'm not in the top 10 at the moment (Bencic is number 12 - editor's note), I'm close. As soon as I can play again, the deficit can be made up quickly. It was different the first time. The uncertainty after my injury break was great back then.
As a tennis player you live a nomadic life. Now you suddenly became at home. How was it?
Actually quite nice. Especially at the beginning I enjoyed living in the same place with the same people for a long time. I didn't have to pack anything. I got to know the so-called normal life. But I would be lying if I said I wouldn't miss the tournaments.
What did you do with all the free time you suddenly had?
There wasn't that much free time. I still trained two or three times a day. Nothing fundamental had changed in the actual daily routine. Only the trappings were different. I usually come home after a tournament, do my laundry, and repackage to move on to the next location. I'm rarely home for more than three days. But I didn't miss the travel stress. Traveling is not one of my favorite things to do.
The break also means that you as a tennis player at least temporarily escape the hate tweets that are a big topic in women's tennis. You were recently reviled at the worst after your first round defeat in Rome.
First off, I may have been misunderstood by the public. I got the impression that these tweets affected me enormously. That is not the case at all. Since I was 16 or 17 years old, such entries have unfortunately been an issue after every match. Frustrated bettors who have lost their stake are obviously relieving their frustration. I forwarded that tweet back then to show people what was brought to you. Sometimes the whole thing gets a bit much.
The tweets remain an issue. Will the WTA support the players in this regard?
We are advised to report and block the relevant users. But to be honest: I don't have the time to block the senders of such messages after each match, especially since I don't assume that this would fundamentally change anything. Online hatred is very difficult to control. You just can't take all the entries too much to heart. And I definitely won't.
Usually you live in a kind of tennis bubble. How far have you been in contact with your competitors, some of whom are also colleagues?
I regularly exchanged ideas with my closest friends such as Barbora Strycova, Donna Vekic, Jil Teichmann and Viktorija Golubic. You tell each other what you do, how to train; information about the tennis circus is exchanged. We haven't seen each other in a long time. The closest social environment has undoubtedly changed during the crisis.
How good was the exchange with the WTA? You've always heard female players complain that they don't know what's going on.
A little more information would have been better. The situation is not easy for the WTA either. I understand. But it's now mid-November and we still don't know exactly how and where the tour will resume. That makes planning extremely difficult.
The Australian Open will take place according to the current state of knowledge. How do you prepare for it?
In preparation, I would like to play the tournaments in Brisbane and Adelaide. But so far we don't know exactly where these tournaments will take place.
And do you have to be quarantined for two weeks before the tournaments?
That's so. I will fly to Australia in mid-December.
You skipped the US Open. Was it also an issue for you to forego the Australian Open?
No. At the US Open the situation was different. Nobody knew exactly how it would all turn out. There was great uncertainty. And because the world ranking points from the previous year remain in the ranking because of Corona, it didn't make much sense for me to take the risk and fly to New York. I should have made it past the semi-finals to improve. So I put my focus on the clay court season in autumn. I had trained and played on clay all summer. It was really bad luck that I then had to cancel for Roland-Garros.
Much is still unclear in the next year. How do you plan your season beyond the Australian Open?
The Grand Slam tournaments remain my focus. They are always the most important goals of the season anyway.
And what about the Tokyo Olympics? There you wanted to compete alongside Roger Federer in the mixed tournament.
You see, I almost forgot about that. Everything is so far away at the moment. But of course the Olympic Games remain one of my big goals for the season - in singles and maybe also in mixed. If we both stay healthy, then of course I would like to compete with Roger. I haven't spoken to him about it lately, but the decision is up to him. But I think it's too early to give any concrete thought.
Tennis bubble in the greater Melbourne area
gene. While the ATP is holding its final tournament in London this week, the women's tour ended on Sunday with the last event in Linz. Of the 71 tournaments originally planned, only 27 took place. The whole Asian swing including the WTA finals in Shenzhen was canceled.
This is another reason why Belinda Bencic has only played 16 games on the WTA tour this season. Since the season was interrupted in March, the 23-year-old has only competed in Rome, where she lost to Danka Kovinic from Montenegro in the first round. Even then, she was hampered by an arm injury, which then forced her to give up the French Open.
Now Bencic is preparing in Bratislava for the new season, which begins in Oceania in early January. But in what form this happens is still unclear. In order to curb travel activities, Tennis Australia relocated all tournaments of the Australian summer to the greater Melbourne area on Monday. The Australian Open will also take place there from January 18 to 31.
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