Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic was inevitably dubbed the next Martina Hingis after winning back to back junior titles at the French Open and then at Wimbledon in 2013 and also being named Switzerland's sporting newcomer of the year. "I'm really honoured to be compared with Martina Hingis. But I think it is not an appropriate comparison to be mentioned with Martina, since I haven't accomplished anything yet. But also now I have to focus on myself and try to be the best I can," commented Bencic. The Hingis connection is not just one of nationality. Bencic has been coached extensively by Melanie Molitor, Hingis's mother, and showcases much of the same touch and invention but also has more outright power. When she was asked to talk more about her coach Melanie Molitor she added: "I have practiced for 8 years with Melanie, and I still do. And she taught me everything about tennis. Everything I know now on the court, she taught me. I am very thankful that I have the possibility to have her as a trainer." She is also coached by her father Ivan Bencic.
Belinda Bencic began playing at the age of 4, learning at Melanie Molitor's tennis school and later also spent six months training at the Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida.
Belinda Bencic was mostly playing junior tournaments in 2012 but had only limited success there and failed to make an impression at any Grand Slam event, surprisingly loosing in the early rounds. "I did not perform very well at the Grand Slams. But all the defeats were very close matches. It was also very new for me to play at the biggest tournaments and I was very excited and nervous. But I think I gained a lot of experience even though I lost." However, she had better results in doubles, reaching the final of the US Open. After the US Open, Bencic returned to the professional circuit, winning back-to-back ITF titles on hard courts in Egypt and boosted her ranking to a career-high world No. 722. Bencic was then granted a wildcard into the main draw of a WTA Tour event in Luxembourg, where she faced an eventual champion and former world No. 1 Venus Williams. Even despite the loss this WTA main draw debut once again raised her ranking significantly.
Bencic started the 2013 tennis season with solid displays on several ITF events on American soil but her big breakthrough came on the junior level, where Belinda Bencic won back to back titles at the French Open and then at Wimbledon to become only the third player in the history to win these two majors in one season (after Martina Hingis in 1994 and Amelie Mauresmo in 1996). She compiled an impressive 42-2 win/loss record on the junior level, reached the No. 1 position and was named ITF Junior World Champion in 2013. Bencic also continued her steady progress on the WTA Tour, getting her career-first main draw victory in Tokyo and another one in Osaka. Her strong performances during this season helped Bencic to improve her world ranking to a new career-high of world No. 184.
In 2014 Belinda Bencic started her season in Hobart with an exhibition match against fellow Swiss and former world number 1, Martina Hingis, exhibition that was dubbed "Master versus the Apprentice". She next headed to Melbourne to play at the Australian Open, making it through three qualifying rounds to earn her career-first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam tournament. Her opponent in the first round was veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, making this a meeting between the oldest and the youngest players in the main draw. Bencic managed to beat the former world No. 4 and former Australian Open semifinalist in three sets to gain an opportunity to play an eventual champion Li Na in the second round. Bencic lost in straight sets but despite the loss entered the Top 150 for the first time in her career. Her career-best victory came in the first round of the 2014 Fed Cup, where Belinda Bencic defeated world No. 25 Alize Cornet on indoors hard court in France.
Belinda Bencic has an unique style of play and is rightly compared with her childhood idol Martina Hingis. "She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel. If she plays more tournaments on the tour, for sure she will be very good. I didn't like the way she was hitting the ball today because she was using a lot of my power to move me and running a lot," said Na Li after their second round match at the 2014 Australian Open. When asked to comment her strenghts and playing style Bencic said: "I think my strength is that I play a little different than the others. And I think that my opponents have a little bit more trouble with it, because I take the ball earlier than other players. I also improved my serve so it can also be my weapon sometimes." She has solid groundstokes off both wings and also her return is among her strenghts and she likes to be aggressive with her returns.
Bencic does not have any favourite surface and likes pretty much all surfaces, and this could also be a big advantage on her way to the top of the game.
- Date of Birth: 10 March 1997
- Nation: Switzerland
- Height: N/A
- Weight: N/A
- Turned Pro: 2009
- Plays: Right-handed