Things to know about Swiss tennis star Belinda Bencic

Bencic teamed up with countryman Roger Federer in the past, and is one of the few players in history to have reached two finals at the same Olympic Games.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

A prodigy as a young junior, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland will play this weekend not only for one Olympic gold in tennis - but two.

Now 24, she was unmatched as a junior player, playing in WTA events as a 15-year-old before landing the girls' Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles in 2013. She was only the third player in history to win those two prestigious events in one season, her early mentor Martina Hingis being one of the others.

Bencic caused a major shock in the senior ranks in 2015, defeating Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams and Simona Halep en route to victory in the Rogers Cup in Canada.

But the shocks didn't stop there. An established threat on the WTA by the 2019 US Open, the Swiss ace toppled defending champion and top-seeded Naomi Osaka en route to the semi-finals.

Bencic teamed up with her legendary compatriot Roger Federer in the Hopman Cup mixed doubles for three consecutive years, winning the event in 2018 and 2019.

At Tokyo 2020 she became the fifth player to reach two finals (women's singles and doubles) at the same Olympics since tennis made its return to the Games at Seoul 1988, joining the likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Nicolas Massu.

Below, we take a look at five facts you may not have known about Bencic.

READ: Everything you need to know about Olympic Tennis at Tokyo 2020

1 - Sporty family

Bencic's parents were born in the former Czechoslovakia, where they were both accomplished athletes.

After emigrating to Switzerland to escape the Warsaw Pac invasion by the Soviet Union, her father played professional hockey in the Swiss National League A, while her mother was an elite handball player.

Bencic learned to walk on a tennis court, and began to hit tennis balls for one hour a day at the age of two with her father.

As a junior tennis player, he would encourage his daughter to play against older opponents with the aim of trying to win two games per set.

2 - Trained by Martina Hingis’ mother

When Bencic turned five, her father reached out for coaching advice from another Czech-to-Swiss family in Melanie Molitor, the mother and coach of world No. 1 Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis.

Very soon, Bencic joined Molitor's tennis school, which greatly accelerated her progress in the sport.

It was also the beginning of her friendship with Hingis.

3 - Brains over brawn

Bencic has a similar stature to Hingis and was regularly compared to her mentor on tour.

"From when I was small, I knew that I would not hit the ball so hard, but I learnt how to play smart, and when you combine a good serve and powerful shots with smart shots, I think it’s good," Bencic once said in an interview.

Hingis agreed with the comparisons and even suggested that the young prodigy could surpass her, saying, "The technique, my mum puts a lot of attention to that. So Bencic has a great backhand as well. But also she’s stronger, so she can work with other weapons than I had. Maybe I was a little better at moving but when she hits a shot it can be a winner. She’s hitting a lot more winners than did I. So it’s different a little bit."

Belinda Bencic in action at Tokyo 2020
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

4 - Idolises Roger Federer

As a Swiss tennis player, it is probably no surprise that Bencic is a big Federer fan.

But she's so much more than that. Bencic also counts the tennis GOAT as a good friend, confidant and teammate.

Bencic and Federer teamed up to become the first duo to repeat as Hopman Cup champions in the event’s 31-year history in 2019.

“Roger is so easy-going. He always has everything under control, which I saw first hand at the Hopman Cup,” Bencic said after.

Federer highlighted his compatriot's ability in particular on the return of serve.

Belinda Bencic and Roger Federer, 2019 
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

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