Former world No. 4 Belinda Bencic will celebrate her 24th birthday on court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but will likely spend the evening keeping up with countryman Roger Federer's highly anticipated comeback in Doha.
"It’s exciting for everyone," she said after a three-set victory over Veronika Kudermetova on Tuesday. "Everyone is counting the days. I thought he was going to play today, but then I saw the schedule and was like, ‘No, one more day we have to wait.’ But it’s great he’s coming back on my birthday!"
Bencic and Federer shared the court as mixed doubled partners for three years at Hopman Cup, winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. The two also claimed Dubai titles in 2019, a win that launched Bencic back into the upper echelons of the game after several seasons of injury struggle.
"It’s such a beautiful memory. During the tournament, it really didn’t look like I could win, and I was really playing it match by match. I never expected to win easily whenever I stepped onto the court. I was always up for a fight because that was all I could do, stay in the moment, and stay tough. From round to round, my tennis improved, and it started my season. It was a very good starting point, and I have great memories.
"I’m always really proud to see myself on the wall of champions, and especially in a year where Roger won, as well! That’s my favorite thing from here."