World No. 23 Belinda Bencic received the Swiss Sportswoman of the Year Award at the 2021 Swiss Sports Awards held on Sunday. Bencic is the first tennis player since Martina Hingis in 1997 to have been conferred with this honor.
Representing her country, Bencic won the singles gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Swiss woman to achieve the feat. She followed it up with a silver medal in the doubles category with Vikorija Golubic.
At the Billie Jean King Cup, Switzerland finished as the runner-up, losing out to Russia in the finals. Bencic won three out of her four singles ties, losing only to Liudmila Samsonova in the final. She also played a doubles match with Jil Teichmann, winning against Lucie Hradecka/Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
The Swiss was also nominated alongside her Olympic partner Golubic for the Team of the Year award. But the pair lost out to the Swiss men's national football team, who qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the fifth successive time.
The other nominees for Sportswoman of the Year were Nina Christen (shooting), Ajla Del Ponte (athletics), Lara Gut-Behrami (alpine skiing), Mujinga Kambundji (athletics), and Jolanda Neff (mountain bike racing).
Bencic won the award by securing 26.3% of the votes, ahead of Neff who won 20.2%. Swiss journalists, fans and the players cast their votes to decide the winner.
Others who received awards on the night were Marco Odermatt (Sportsman of the Year), Yann Sommer (MVP of the Year), Marcel Hug (Paralympic Athlete of the Year), Edmund Telser (Coach of the Year) and Amy Baserga (Hope of the Year).
Belinda Bencic's next match is at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship
Belinda Bencic's 2022 season will begin with an exhibiton match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi later this week.
She will play against 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in a one-off title match at the exhibition tournament, a repeat of the quarterfinal encounter between the two at Flushing Meadows.
This will be Bencic's first ever match at the tournament, where Maria Sharapova is the defending champion. The Russian defeated Ajla Tomljanovic to win the 2019 edition. The tournament did not take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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