Former world No.7 Belinda Bencic says regaining trust in her injury-prone body is her main priority right now, and she won’t stress about her sliding ranking.
Bencic’s 2016 campaign was blighted by back and wrist injuries, resulting her slipping to 43rd in the world.
The 19-year-old is a rising star on the WTA tour, and she’s been touted as a future world No.1.
But for Bencic to reach her potential, she needs a clean run on the injury front.
Bencic started 2017 on a positive note, beating Great Britain’s Heather Watson 7-5 3-6 6-2 in a tough three-setter at the Hopman Cup.
The Swiss star said it was important to ensure her body would stand up to the rigours of professional tennis.
“It is now all about getting the trust back in my body and it’s not that easy,” Bencic said.
“You are always afraid to do something.
“When something hurts you are panicking.
“I am happy I got through this first match and right now my body is fine.
“I didn’t practice as much as I wanted to (during the off-season) because of my body, being careful and not over training.
“I think it is definitely better to under train than over train and get injured again.”
Bencic rose to her career-high ranking of No.7 in February on the back of a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open, and a finals appearance at a tournament in Russia.
But rankings are nowhere near the forefront of her thinking right now.
“That is definitely not my priority to look at the rankings,” Bencic said.
“I’m just trying to play now and enjoy being back on the court. You don’t play for rankings, you play to win. I am not going to count points and stress about it.”
Bencic will be back in action in Switzerland’s Hopman Cup clash with Germany on Wednesday, where she’ll take on world No.55 Andrea Petkovic.
Star Swiss Roger Federer made a successful comeback from a knee injury on Monday night, cruising past Dan Evans 6-3 6-4.
Federer, who had spent the previous six months sidelined, will be aiming to build more momentum when he takes rising German star Alexander Zverev.
The US are already guaranteed a spot in Saturday’s final, with Switzerland the favourite to join them.