Former world No.7 Belinda Bencic can’t wait for the “worst” year of her career to be over, and she hopes the upcoming Hopman Cup will be the start of a new, healthier chapter.
Bencic rose to her career-high in February after storming into the fourth round of the Australian Open, before reaching the final of a tournament in Russia
But her year turned sour from that point as injuries started to bite, with back, thigh, and wrist issues badly affecting her form.
The 19-year-old’s end to the year was particularly brutal, with Bencic knocked out in the first round of four of her last five tournaments.
It was an inglorious end to the year for a player who has been touted as a future world No.1 and grand slam winner.
But Bencic is confident she’ll be able to rediscover her best tennis once her injury curse goes away.
“This year has definitely been the worst,” Bencic said.
“I just want to forget it and move on.
“But it’s taught me a lot. I know how to deal with these kind of situations where everything is going wrong and I’m always injured.
“It was like lower back, coccyx, and then I had the wrist problem. It was like a circle and I couldn’t get out of it.
“I’m really happy I had this experience now, and hopefully it just stops.”
The world No.43 will team with 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer in a powerful Swiss outfit for the Hopman Cup, starting Sunday.
Bencic was just six years old when Federer won his first grand slam – at Wimbledon in 2003.
It’s a moment she still remembers vividly.
“Of course I watched it. We are both Swiss, so he was a big hero in Switzerland and of course my idol,” Bencic said.
“So many small kids started to play because of him. It’s a big inspiration, also for me.”
Bencic said regaining trust in her body, rather than getting back into the world’s top 10, was her biggest goal for 2017.
She will open her Hopman Cup campaign against Great Britain’s Heather Watson on Monday night.
Federer will face off against Dan Evans in the men’s singles rubber.