Getting To Know... Belinda Bencic
Published October 19, 2013 12:00
In October 1994, a 14-year-old Martina Hingis made the first confident steps on the path from junior starlet to tennis superstar with back-to-back WTA quarterfinals in the indoor halls of Filderstadt and Essen.
Two decades on, another Swiss teenager with a bulging junior trophy cabinet, Belinda Bencic, began following in her footsteps with a similarly impressive start to life in the professional ranks.
Unlike her illustrious compatriot, Bencic began her journey in the Far East, reaching the second round in both Tokyo and Osaka before going down to former major champions Petra Kvitova and Samantha Stosur. And after her loss to Stosur, wtatennis.com caught up with the 16-year-old to talk musical tastes, junior memories and, of course, Martina.
How did you get into tennis?
BB: My parents played tennis as a hobby, and sometimes they took me with them on court. I actually made my first steps on the tennis court. As soon as I was on court, I also wanted to try to play. I liked it straight away and played more and more from then on.
Can you tell us a little about your family?
BB: My dad, Ivan, is a former ice hockey player in Switzerland, where he is now an insurance broker. My mum, Dana, is a former model and my brother Brian, who is 13, is still at school but is also a promising junior player.
Who is coaching you at the moment?
BB: Melanie Molitor and my dad.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
BB: When I was a child, I really looked up to Martina Hingis.
How do you describe your playing style and what are your strengths?
BB: I think I play differently than most other players my age. I try to take the ball early and on the rise. I like to think I have a very good all-around game.
Best tennis memory so far?
BB: Winning my first junior Grand Slam title in Paris was amazing, but also winning at Wimbledon was special. Of course, my first main draw win on the WTA and the matches I've already played against Grand Slam champions - Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova and Sam Stosur - are really special too.
Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
BB: I've played a lot of difficult opponents so I don't really like to say just one.
What are your goals in tennis?
BB: Just to improve my tennis every day.
What is your favorite surface, tournament and city?
BB: I like pretty much all the surfaces, and my favorite tournaments are of course all the WTA events (although I have not played so many yet!) and Wimbledon. My favorite city? That's hard to say, but I love Miami, Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
How far did you go in your education?
BB: I finished school in Switzerland. We have to go just nine years, from 6-15, and I finished last year.
What do you like to do to for fun?
BB: I like to spend time with friends and family, go to the movies, dancing, shopping, surfing on the internet and lots of sleep!
Do you have a favorite book, film or musician?
BB: I don't have a favorite book but I read a lot when I am travelling. My favorite film is all the parts from both The Hangover and American Pie. I love music and I like Rihanna, Maroon 5, Adele, David Guetta and Pitbull.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
BB: Hmmm, I don't know. Friendly, I think!
If you could meet anyone in the world who would you like it to be?
BB: Rafa Nadal.
If you weren't a tennis player, what career path would you have taken?
BB: Something to do with sports, children or animals.