INTERVIEW: [10] Belinda Bencic DEF. [2] Paula Badosa 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 – QFs

INTERVIEW: [10] Belinda Bencic DEF. [2] Paula Badosa 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 – QFs

Quarterfinals: B. Bencic DEF. P. Badosa – 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4

Question: Belinda, congratulations. A long match out there. How did you feel you did? Can you talk us through the match a bit?

BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah. Super long. I’m really happy. I’m really relieved, and yeah, it was a big fight. I’m just going to try to recover. But I’m happy with the way I played, with the way I fought. And, yeah, I’m happy to get another match here.

Question: Do you remember 14 years ago?

BENCIC: Yeah.

Question: And I remember, I went back and looked —

BENCIC: You mean eight years ago, in 2014. Yeah, I was like — (laughs).

Question: (Inaudible). That was an incredible match, which you didn’t win, but you had a wonderful match.

BENCIC: Yeah.

Question: So how does it feel, eight years later, to be back in the semis?

BENCIC: You know, when I lost that semifinal, I was so heartbroken, I thought that’s going to be my only chance and like this was it and this was maybe my only semifinal; and, I mean, like my team and other people, they were telling me, no, like this is just the start. You will play more semifinals and more tournaments. So I feel like this kicked off completely my career. And it was really — I mean, I still remember the moment. So I hope to do better the next semifinal. I remember I lost and I just went to the clubhouse, and they had like cookies, and I just took a cookie and put Nutella on it and just ate the cookie. That’s what we do when we lose.

Question: You were only 17.

BENCIC: Right. Yes.

Question: Was it a slow start for you today or did you change something midway through the second set that led to more success for you this afternoon?

BENCIC: No. I felt like it was a slow start. I felt like my game was not really there; and it felt frustrating, because I knew what I had to do. I was missing. My balls were just like sometimes out like this, out like this. And she was playing, obviously, good. I was struggling with my serve with the wind. And, yeah, I was just trying to put my game together and just to make it tough for her and kind of, I don’t know, hang in there on my service games and then just wait for a chance. But, yeah, I mean, it was really a slow start, but I’m happy I kind of started to play better after.

Question: Belinda, congratulations. You made the semis in Miami, and you played some really good tennis. I know the conditions are different, but do you feel like something has been clicking the last few weeks in your game?

BENCIC: Yes. I’m really happy that it’s going well. I feel like my game is back again. I’m doing well in practice. I’m starting to do well in matches again. I mean, what’s been clicking is, for sure, you know, since Indian Wells, I can really like practice more. I talked about before I was not able to — I was not fit. I was just not able to breathe. I was not able to practice more than two hours, an easy practice. So I was struggling a lot with my fitness; and I mean, I had COVID before, so it was COVID related. But I’m happy that I’m back, and, yeah, also the tennis. You need matches. You need to play first well in practice, and you need to kind of transition into matches, and you need to start winning matches, and I’m happy it’s kind of clicking and I got it rolling again.

Question: Belinda, you’ve had a little time since the Olympics. Where do you feel like the gold medal fits into your career?

BENCIC: Definitely on the top of my list of achievements. I mean, for me it’s a dream coming true, and it’s something that I’ve worked on, you know, winning something really big. And I always say, you know, like if I would finish my career, I feel like my career was successful, and like all the work I put into it paid off because like this was, you know, the achievement. So, for me, I think it’s always going to be the biggest thing for me. Doesn’t matter what more would come.

Question: Now you’re into the business end of this week in Charleston. How have you been enjoying the city? Have you had any time to do anything fun, other than play tennis?

BENCIC: No. I mean, a little bit at the start of the tournament, but I mean, yesterday we came here at 9:00 and we came back to the hotel at 10:00. So I’m having long working days here. I’m enjoying the site, though. So I hope — I mean, it’s always a good sign; if you keep winning, you’re on site more. If you lose, you have maybe a day or two after the tournament to enjoy the city. But I mean, I love the hotel. It’s really nice. And, yeah, I just hope, maybe, because I’m playing doubles later again, so today will not be the day, but maybe tomorrow I can enjoy a little bit more.

Question: 04.08.22 – B. Bencic

BENCIC: For sure, yeah. I think mostly the experience, because I feel like I’ve always been mentally strong, like in matches, in close matches. Of course, it happens sometimes that you lose a match out of match points, and you just, I don’t know, do a double fault at the most important points. But I feel like I’ve always, like enjoyed the tough moments and the pressure moments and like won a lot of tiebreaks. So I’m happy with this. But, yeah, I think the experience, of course, helps when you’re playing especially now younger players, and like in my first round, my opponent had to serve it out, so I kind of, you know, stayed in there and just, yeah, tried to make her play. But, also, my forehand a lot, I think I improved that in the last maybe year now with my new coach. And, yeah, the serve.

Belinda Bencic PAULA BADOSA