Swiss tennis player and 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer did not expect his compatriot Belinda Bencic to win the Dubai Open Championship but said that he is happy for her.
“I am really happy for her, but I definitely did not expect it, I still think, like she also thought, it was sort of work in progress, her whole comeback. But this is what sports does, they write great stories,” Women’s Tennis Association quoted Federer, as saying.
“I thought the way she did it was tremendous, beating four Top 10 players in exhilarating matches, to be honest. I think that was wonderful for her,” he said.
Bencic had a dramatic title run in which she had to save six match points against Belarus’s Aryna Sabalenka, stun former world number one Simona Halep and end Elina Svitolina’s two-year winning streak before defeating Czech Petra Kvitova in a three-set thriller final.
Closely monitoring Bencic’s progress, Federer was in the UAE to kick-start his tournament preparations.dubai
“Every day I saw her at the courts, every day I congratulated her, every day she went on to win the next one. I quickly saw her after the finals before she left. She was so happy. It was a pleasure to see her play a little bit, and also happy that everything is coming together with her father and her fitness coach right now,” he said.
Bencic had earlier said that the experience she received from Federer in the Hopman Cup gave her huge confidence to start the year.
“It would be wrong if it didn’t help me, I definitely think the Hopman Cup gives me so much. It is actually my favourite event of the year,” she said.
“Just playing with all those champions, there were so many this years, it is amazing to playing against them, to playing with them. You can learn really so much. The event is just full of energy. It is great,” Bencic said. ANI