“People think I'm a little bit older“
It was here in 2014 that Bencic reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final, back in the days when she was the best thing to happen to women’s tennis in Switzerland since Martina Hingis. In fact, back then, she was the youngest Swiss since Hingis to get so far (Hingis went on to win the title when she got to the last eight in 1997 when she was just a few days shy of her 17th birthday).
Not only that, but Bencic was a product of the same training philosophy as Hingis – Bencic worked with Hingis’s mother, Melanie Molitor, during her teenage years.
Just the year before in 2013, Bencic had been mopping up junior titles to a band playing, including the junior Roland Garros and junior Wimbledon crowns, but now she was ready to take on the grown-up world. And that it is when it all started to go wrong.
By the end of her first full season on the WTA Tour in 2015, she was struggling with the first of her many injuries. It began with leg and hand problems, progressed to a serious back issue the following spring and then, in 2017, she needed surgery to repair her left wrist.
“People always think I'm a little bit older than I actually am, because I've been here since 16, 17,” she said. “I think definitely it was a good time. I learned so many things. I think everyone expected [me] to go just up [in the rankings when I was younger]. That's not how tennis goes. I think all true athletes have to overcome obstacles, injuries, just tough times. I think it made me a stronger person, better player. I hope it's going to be like this.”