Palmanova, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, W15 Palmanova, clay, outdoor: 1R, Anna Siskova (CZE) - Vicky Van De Peer (BEL) 26 64 63, 2R: Celia Cervino Ruiz (ESP) 57 63 61, QF: Maria Gutierrez Carrasco (ESP) 16 64 63, SF: Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (ESP) 62 46 62, F:  Alba REY GARCIA (ESP) 6-3 6-1 TITLE!!!!

Palmanova, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, W15 Palmanova, clay, outdoor: 1R, Anna Siskova (CZE) - Vicky Van De Peer (BEL) 26 64 63, 2R: Celia Cervino Ruiz (ESP) 57 63 61, QF: Maria Gutierrez Carrasco (ESP) 16 64 63, SF: Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers (ESP) 62 46 62, F:  Alba REY GARCIA (ESP) 6-3 6-1 TITLE!!!!

Swiss Bencic fought her way back to TOP 100 after preparation in EMPIRE Tennis Academy, now it's time for Hopman Cup

Former world No. 7 Belinda Bencic (20) is a member of EMPIRE Tennis Academy from August 2017. She injured her wrist and had to undergo a surgery in May, but despite her fear, everything turned out great. Surgery was a success as well as her comeback. She won three tournaments during three months and went back to WTA Top 100 in singles. All because she trained in Trnava club EMPIRE.

When you discovered academy in Trnava?

"I heard about it from my friends Dasha Kasatkina and Vladimir Platenik. I won an international tournament here when I was 14, back in 2010, but it was not an academy yet. I saw photos on the Academy's official Instagram and heard it's great here. Also Elina Svitolina and Lucie Safarova train here too."

Do you remember your winning tournament here in 2010?

"I was 13 years old, we played on clay, and part of Tennis Europe series. I remember these things pretty well. Our hotel was right next to court and we watched matches from balcony. That's why I remember it."

Why did you made the decision to become member of the EMPIRE Tennis Academy?

"When I was still injured, I came here personally. Even Oliver Nagy, who was my sparring at the time, told me that we could give a training week here. I came here, I liked it, I found good conditions here. I know a lot of people in this place, I felt good, I said why not to come here. Now I prepare myself here before every tournament."

Have you met your expectations even after weeks of preparation?

"I've got everything I need. I had great training here before I started playing tennis. The club gave me everything they could. "

Is there similar academy in Switzerland as ours?

"In Switzerland, there is a federal national tennis center in Biel, where everyone trains. There are plenty of tennis halls, but there are tennis schools, for example children's academy. There are no big academies where players from other countries can come. Each parent takes child where it is closest to them. "

When you underwent an operation in May 2017, what was the most difficult for you during the first weeks?

"I had gypsum and I did not know much about how it would evolve. I was sad about it. I could not play or do anything to do, run. I was depressed."

Who operated on you?

"Frederik Verstreken, he works in Antwerp, he also operated Clijsters, Flipkens, Goffin. And many more players. Magda Rybarikova, who I then began to ask more about what it was like. She said it was great and she was happy. Then I went to see him, he made a good impression on me. He had everything under control, he knew everything. He tried to explain it, but he did not push me into anything. Agents from Nishikori or Kuznetsova were already calling me, they were curious about it. I recommended him, he's a wrist specialist. "

When did you miss fears of returning and started to believe?

"It was still hurting from the beginning. Every day I had to work with a physiotherapist. I called the doctor every day whether it was normal or ok, I was stressed. When I played the first backhands in August, I was also cautious, but the pain was gone. I begin to believe it would be okay. Now I believe it completely and I do not have to tape it."

How did rehabilitation look like? And when was the first full-time training?

"My physiotherapist came to see the doctor who will be operated me. On the spot, they agreed what he can move, in which time horizon. We wanted to strengthen our muscles, we did classical exercises with a dumbbell up, down, with an expander."

You came back in big style in September, you just won the tournament in Petrohrad. What was the return to the lower ITF?

"I did not mind, I played ITF events in the past, I had to fight through them. For me, the WTA tournament in Linz was amazing. Less sponsored tournaments were well organized. And what I liked best is that I played better without getting the same attention everywhere. I did not want it to be resolved as a big story of return. I wanted to focus on how to hold my wrist. I could also use protected ranking to get wild cards into main competitions, but I did not want it."

And it might not have gone so well...

"It could not, it could have started hurting me again. I would have to explain to everybody what happened. When I chose such a return, it was more relaxed, easier for me. I wanted to fight it like this. We agreed with the coach, we had the same opinion. "

Which winnings do you value the most after returning? Saint Petersburg, Hua Hin or Taipei?

"I'm most proud of the first of St. Petersburg because I did not expect it at all. When I was on the court, I was excited that I could play at all. At that time I felt the best."

What would you say to someone in the summer of 2017 if he would have told to you that you would return to the Top 100 for three months and you would qualify for the Australian Open main draw?

"I would be very careful. I would not even think it was real or possible. I was glad when I got into the singles qualification - I did not count on it. It's a bonus, but I was ready to play a qualifying. "

In January 2018 you play again after the Hopman Cup with Federer. Are you excited?

"It is such a highlight that I was looking forward to. I am nervous, but Roger is totally cool. Playing with him helps. I feel very good with him on the court. We would like to play even better at Hopman Cup than ever before. His matches were different, the night duels were played. There were a lot of people, a real atmosphere. Australians truly live for sport."

Are you satisfied with coach Ian Hughes?

"I am very happy, I felt great about his training. I like the style of his training. He tries to get to know me, to learn about things. It is very good. He is rather a peaceful, tactical type. He is very helpful in the game, he shows me the details I can work on. It is going well."
How do you like to train with Slovak sparring like Oliver Nagy and Martin Blasko from our academy?

"Great, I practice my Slovak at least (smile). We trained with Oliver for almost a year, it was also great. I am very grateful to him, he is part of my successful return. Even with Blasko it was perfect, in Asia we were together in the two tournaments I have won. He plays great, intense."

Do you have any idea how many tournaments would you like to play in the 2018 season?

"Definitely less than I played. In the past, I had a lot of tournaments, but I did not win as much. When I started winning, I continued on, comfortably. So when I win some, I'll take a break. I want to plan more carefully for my body to be okay. The advantage is that most of the year I do not have to defend tournament points."

Photos by: 
Milan Hutera,

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