One year ago, rising Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic had a fairytale run at the Rogers Cup that became the scene of her biggest triumph till date. Aged 18 then, Bencic simply ripped open the draw accounting for four top-10 players that included a huge scalp of the World No. 1 Serena Williams in the semi-finals.
Considering that was her first ever appearance at the premier Canadian tournament, it was a tremendous show of maturity from the youngster that earned her plaudits from the entire tennis world.
A year on, a dejected Bencic has announced that she would not be able to defend her title next week as she has not yet recovered fully from a left wrist injury that cut short her journey at Wimbledon.
“I am very sad to have to withdraw from the Rogers Cup,” Bencic said. “I was looking forward to coming to Montreal and defending my Rogers Cup title but unfortunately my wrist has not completely healed. I will miss my Canadian fans and I am looking forward to getting back on the court soon.”
The 19-year-old made a superb start to the 2016 season and reached the final at St. Petersburg in February before cracking the top 10 for the very first time in her career. But since then, a back injury hampered most of her season and forced her to withdraw from the French Open.
The former junior Wimbledon champion made a comeback during the grass season and just as she was trying to gain some momentum, a left wrist injury struck because of which she had to retire from her second round match at SW19.
Federer, Nadal, Murray opt out
Bencic thus joins her compatriot Roger Federer and his famous rival Rafael Nadal on the list of top players to pull out of this prestigious event, the men’s tournament of which will be held in Toronto this year. Earlier, Wimbledon winner and the men’s defending champion Andy Murray too withdrew leaving the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as the only member of the ‘Big Four’ in the field.
The Briton, who won the men’s singles gold at the London Olympics four years ago, opted for rest and light practice before defending his Olympic crown. He will be heading to Mallorca this week for his training block before Rio.
As for the two-time Canadian Masters winner Federer, he announced that he needed more time after Wimbledon where he made it to the semi-finals, losing in five sets to eventual runner-up Milos Raonic.
The other former champion Nadal had been dealing with a wrist injury that resulted in his withdrawal from Wimbledon. The recovering Spaniard has only started practising just a week back and said that he is still not confident about playing at such an important tournament.