For Belinda Bencic, Roger Federer is an enormous inspiration. The 21-year-old’s admiration towards the 20-time Major winner got even bigger as they are playing the Hopman Cup for the third year in a row.
On Tuesday Bencic lost her singles match to Serena Williams in three sets but she and Federer would then prevail in a mixed doubles match against the American and Frances Tiafoe. Commenting on how she managed to stay motivated ahead of the mixed doubles match after the loss to Serena, Bencic said: ‘It was very difficult but I am very happy, Roger motivated me in the locker room.’ Switzerland will face Greece next, and Bencic will play against Maria Sakkari.
The focus is already on that match: ‘A lot of work to be done, they played amazingly. They did not win against Great Britain but they are amazing players so we have got to be ready.’ Hopman Cup venues changed over the years, and Federer feels honoured to have played in both of them: ‘It was fun and also a little bit unfortunate because it was indoors, you know starting the season, but you could practice indoors.
But I loved the Birds with Dome too, this is obviously more modern and more state of the art and just even a bit nicer of course but I am happy I played in both venues.’Federer also praised Frances Tiafoe: ‘I like the energy he has, he’s a really positive guy off the court as well.
I played another good match. A great start to the season for me. I’m very pleased and couldn’t be happier right now.’
After her singles match against Sakkari, she and Federer will play a doubles match against Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Hopman Cup will conclude on the 5th of January when the winner of Group A takes on the winner of Group B.