INTERVIEW: [10] Belinda Bencic DEF. Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3 – SFS

INTERVIEW: [10] Belinda Bencic DEF. Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3 – SFS

SEMIFINALS: B. Bencic DEF. E. Alexandrova – 6-4 6-3

Q. Belinda, first final on clay. How do you feel right now?

BELINDA BENCIC: Very good. I’m happy this moment came. I didn’t think it would. But super happy with how I played today. I thought it was a great match. Tough conditions. I expected it to be worse with the wind and the cold and everything, but I’m happy to get through. Yeah, it’s really nice to be in the final here.

Question: I heard you talking on the Tennis Channel desk that you just plan to relax and chill out. Is there any particular routine you plan to have or just have a big dinner?

BENCIC: No. I mean, I always play doubles after singles, so today I also play after the singles match. And after that, for sure, we’ll have a nice dinner. We always — the last couple of days we didn’t have too much time, so we ordered Japanese to the hotel. And it’s super nice. We love this hotel and the city. And just relax, have treatment, physio, and then get a good night’s sleep.

Question: I was just going to ask you if you slept well before a final. Some players get a little —

BENCIC: Yeah. I think it’s not going to be worse than before the Olympic final. That was a sleepless night.

Question: Can you kind of take us through the first set? Obviously you were up 4-1 out of the gates, but Alexandrova comes back to tie it at 4-4. What was the mindset, kind of regroup to come back and take that first set?

BENCIC: Yeah. It was hard because I played really good to get up 4-1, but then I didn’t think I did anything wrong and it was 4-4. I mean, it was easier for me to accept that more than if I would do something wrong. So I was just like, okay, I’m just going to keep going. If she’s going to play like this, then deserves to win, but I was hoping that she wouldn’t have the whole match like the streak of great shots and winners, so yeah, just tried to hang in there and just continued to play the same thing.

Question: What would it mean to win the 50th with all these former champions here in Charleston watching?

BENCIC: Yeah. That would be very, very special, of course. Yeah, still a long way. A final, it’s never easy. You have to start well, just make all the preparations the same and just not think about it, not think too far, not think about the end result, but always keep doing. But it’s super special that everyone is here. I saw them upstairs, and it’s really cool that so many players found their way back to Charleston.

Question: Are you surprised that this is your first clay final, the fact that you have had success early on this surface?

BENCIC: Tough question. I mean, yeah, in a way. I mean, after some years, I was like, okay, let’s just get through the clay season, but now, I really — I’m feeling good, and I mean, I’m not thinking about it too much. I feel like overanalyzing sometimes it’s worse, and that’s what I said on the on-court interview. I just had like two days of practice after Miami to play the first round here. And I think sometimes that’s better. You just, I don’t know, just play and not think too much. You adapt quickly, and your body knows what to do.

Question: I actually saw you doing the coloring this morning.

BENCIC: When did you see me?

Question: When did you actually start doing that? And does your coloring form affect your on-court form?

BENCIC: My coloring form is always on point. I never go out of the lines. I’m a perfectionist. So everything has to be good. No, I actually started when I had a sponsor that it was Caran d’Ache. And they were like Swiss pencils and like coloring pencils, and the water and everything. So when they give me all these beautiful boxes of like rainbow colors, I started to do it, and they also gave me this, I don’t know, like the mandala to make. So that’s when I started, and I have kept doing since I always take some on tournament and especially during the lockdown, the bubbles, we couldn’t go out of the hotel. So I was just like, okay, what am I going to do, like watch on my phone the whole day? So I was doing puzzles and coloring.

Question: Do you remember when that was?

BENCIC: When I started? I don’t know. Like — I mean, I always kind of like from school until now I’m coloring.

Belinda Bencic Ekaterina Alexandrova