Belinda Bencic is a Swiss player who has taken the junior circuit by storm this year. Bencic compiled an impressive 39-1 win loss record this year, suffering her first loss in the semis of the 2013 European Junior Championships. The 16 year old from Flawil won back to back championships at the French Open and Wimbledon to underline her potential as a future star. Sportskeeda caught up with her for a brief conversation on her fledgling career, just as she is preparing for another run in the junior draw of the US Open.
Belinda, you have been a revelation over this summer. Congratulations on winning back to back junior titles at the French Open and then at Wimbledon. We must also congratulate on your extended winning streak.
39 matches. Yes I’m having a great summer. Thank you!
Tell us about the start of the year. You were coming off a tough 2012, during which you faced some rough early losses, especially in the grand slam events. How did your training go and what were your aspirations at the beginning of 2013?
Yes, last year I did not perform very well at the Grand Slams. But all the defeats were very close matches. It was also very new for me to play at the biggest tournaments and I was very excited and nervous. But I think I gained a lot of experience even though I lost.
For 2013, I was preparing in Boca Raton, Florida at the Evert Tennis Academy, and we spent a lot of time on the practice courts. I also improved a lot of physical aspects and strength too. I also grew physically, so my serve got better as well.
Your father, Ivan Bencic, has worked hard to give you a career in tennis. Can you tell us about the most important lessons you learn from your father?
Yes, my father has taught me a lot. I don’t know which was the most important lesson but I’m very thankful that he and my mom and my brother had done so much for me to help my tennis career.
What is the role of Melanie Molitor in your development as a player?
I have practiced for 8 years with Melanie, and I still do. And she taught me everything about tennis. Everything I know now on the court, she taught me. I am very thankful that I have the possibility to have her as a trainer.
You have emulated Martina Hingis (1994) and Amelie Mauresmo (1996) in winning the French-Wimbledon double this year. Were you aware of this before playing the final?
No, I was not thinking about it before the final and I also didn’t know that.
Does it bother you that people often compare you with Martina Hingis?
No, it doesn’t bother me, I’m really honoured. But I think it is not an appropriate comparison to be mentioned with Martina, since I haven’t accomplished anything yet. But also now I have to focus on myself and try to be the best I can.
Has Martina given you some tips on succeeding on the WTA tour?
Yes, when I saw her at the Grand Slams, she gave me some tips.
You played Taylor Townsend at the French Open as well and that match lasted three sets too. How did you prepare for the final against her at Wimbledon?
I knew that she was a really tough opponent. Of course the match at Roland Garros was at a really high level, it ended 9-7 in the third. It was very close and in the end it was just about one break at 7-7. So, at Wimbledon, I just knew that it was a new match and a new chance for both of us.
Can you tell us a little about the strengths in your game?
I think my strength is that I play a little different than the others. And I think that my opponents have a little bit more trouble with it, because I take the ball earlier than other players. I also improved my serve so it can also be my weapon sometimes.
What are the areas that you are working on to make your game stronger?
I work on everything the same. It is also the small things which make the difference.
You made a foray into the WTA at the Swedish Open on a wildcard. Anna Tatishvilli was on the run against you after losing the first set. Please tell us about the match and how it slipped away from you.
I made my WTA debut in Luxembourg against Venus Williams. But the match against Tatishvili was not so good from my side. I played an okay first set, and after that I somehow couldn’t find my rhythm. It was pretty windy, and I had problems with my serve too. But it’s good to see that I can play with players like that even though I didn’t play my best.
Your dad migrated to Switzerland even before you were born. Do you still have some family in the Slovak region? Do you visit there some times?
Yes, we have family there but not from my father’s side but from my mother. Yes, we are trying to visit them as much as possible or sometimes they come to visit us.
Who are your best friends on the circuit?
I would say Kathinka von Deichmann. But on the Juniors Circuit, we are friends with everybody. We are like a big family there.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to be with friends, listen to music, go shopping, go to the movies or just surf the internet.
All of us at Sportskeeda wish you a wonderful career in tennis. We will look forward eagerly to see you translate your winning ways in the juniors when you eventually move on to the main tour. Good luck with everything.
Thank you very much!Published 28 Aug 2013, 00:04 IST