World number 8 in the WTA Rankings, Belinda Bencic shared her story and revealed why she felt pressured at a young age.

Belinda Bencic became the part of the TOP 10 very early in her career. Belinda has won her first 2 WTA titles already in 2015 as just 18 years old. Later on, she dropped out of the TOP 300 to reach career-high 4th place in 2020. For behindtheracquet.com, Belinda shared her tennis story.

“It was a huge struggle to deal with the pressure of becoming Top 10 in the world early on. I truly believe that once I made it there my body was forcing me to take some time off, that something wasn’t right, and that’s why I got injured. I think it all happened for a reason, I learned so much about myself and this sport while working my way back, I appreciate tennis more, I fully believe that if I didn’t get injured I would be completely exhausted in a few years. It would have only been matter of time until I felt burnt out so I am happy it happened now.”

“I was lucky to gain this experience while I was still extremely young and ready to fight back. I broke into the top 10 for the first time at St. Petersburg in 2016. Then soon came Miami where I got my first injury, which led to many others. A severe wrist problem came and I tried to avoid surgery while playing for nine months. In April 2017, I finally decided to get it done. I was out for about six months and my ranking dropped to 350,” Bencic said.

Belinda’s comeback among the best

“Tennis is super difficult because you never stay where you are, you are either going up or down. As a junior, you just play, everything is exciting and new. You have nothing to lose, you don’t overthink anything. While I moved to the top of the sport I just felt too young for all of it. The media attention is something you cannot prepare for, especially if you aren’t naturally open like I am. I never had to deal with something not going my way in my career, and now any failure was directly in the spotlight. I didn’t enjoy simply playing tennis anymore, I was never one that wanted to be in the spotlight off the court. It was a relief after I got my surgery that I could start new again,” Bencic said.

“I started again, not playing in front of anyone, no one judging me and I found to love it again. I could have taken wild cards or a protected ranking but I wanted to build my confidence and love again, I began to remember what it was like to appreciate every win and every minute on court. To take a second and remember you worked so hard to get to compete against players I used to watch on TV when I was younger,” said Bencic.

Sacrifices and financial problems

“I think tennis makes it difficult for players to remember their passion for it. You are focused on so many other things, especially when someone ranked around 100 in the world can barely pay for a coach and travels without a physio. I am doing what I can to try to make a difference in tennis for the generations after me. To this day I look back at my sacrifices and appreciate all of them for the life I have now. The media is always thinking that my father pushed me into this but it was always me telling him I wanted to play. People see the father/daughter relationship in sports and get it twisted, but he always wanted the best for me. My parents are originally Slovakian. Their mentality is all or nothing but the push for tennis always came from me. I did feel guilty when I couldn’t bring my best to court after all the work we put in. But I am in a better place now and realize there is something everyone is dealing with,” said Bencic.

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“It was a huge struggle to deal with the pressure of becoming top 10 in the world early on. I truly believe that once I made it there my body was forcing me to take some time off, that something wasn’t right, and that’s why I got injured. I think it all happened for a reason. I learned so much about myself and this sport while working my way back. I appreciate tennis more. I fully believe that if I didn’t get injured I would be completely exhausted in a few years. It would have only been a matter of time until I felt burnt out so I am happy it happened now. I was lucky to gain this experience while I was still extremely young and ready to fight back. I broke into the top 10 for the first time at St. Petersburg in 2016. Then soon came Miami where I got my first injury, which led to many others. A severe wrist problem came and I tried to avoid surgery while playing for nine months. April 2017, I finally decided to get it done. I was out for about six months and my ranking dropped to 350. Tennis is super difficult because you never stay where you are, you are either going up or down. As a junior, you just play, everything is exciting and new. You have nothing to lose, you don’t overthink anything. While I moved to the top of the sport I just felt too young for all of it. The media attention is something you cannot prepare for, especially if you aren’t naturally open like I am. I never had to deal with something not going my way in my career, and now any failure was directly in the spotlight. I didn’t enjoy simply playing tennis anymore. I was never one that wanted to be in the spotlight off the court. It was a relief after I got my surgery that I could start new again. I started again, not playing in front of anyone, no one judging me and I found to love it all again. I could have taken wild cards or a protected ranking but I wanted to build my confidence and love again. I began to remember what it was like to appreciate every win and every minute on court. To take a second and remember you worked so hard to get to compete against players I used to watch on TV when I was younger.” @belindabencic Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended stories, podcasts and merch.

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Author: Erik Virostko