Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: First question for our champion, please.
Q. Has it sunk in yet?
BELINDA BENCIC: No. I’ve just come off the court, doing press. It will sunk in later when I will be on my own, maybe relax. Maybe even tomorrow while skydiving.
Q. What are your thoughts on that? Kind of an up-and-down match.
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, obviously very up-and-down match. With Petra, it’s like this. She’s hitting full power, so it was incredibly tough first set, as well.
Second set, I think I missed by little in the start of the games, then she gained a lot of confidence. She was playing great. She was serving great.
I’m really happy about how I managed to turn the momentum around in the third set.
Q. What does it mean to you to win this?
BELINDA BENCIC: It’s unbelievable. It’s incredible. I mean, I still cannot believe it. Especially I’m realizing after two rounds, we were already saying, Wow, this is a great tournament. Now it’s only bonus.
Then I won against Sabalenka after being out already. We said the same thing again. Really, the expectations after two rounds were not there any more. So many times I was close from defeat. It’s unbelievable that I ended up winning this.
Q. You’ve beaten four of the best players of the last few months all in a row. Do you feel differently now about your level stacked up against the top 10, or is it validation at this point?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I mean, of course they are very high-quality players, all of them. I’m so happy about the consistency that I could back up my wins. After playing a tough match, I could mentally win another one. It’s very difficult.
Yeah, just very proud of that.
Q. You’d never taken a set off of her in previous meetings. What was your mentality? What do you think you did differently?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, I have huge respect from Petra because she’s amazing player. She’s such a champion. I really didn’t believe all the match that I can beat her. Really, that was my mentality. I was just trying to get from point to point, getting closer, getting closer. I was not thinking too far ahead.
After when I won, it was incredible. Of course, even to win a set already, it would have been amazing. I just tried to get closer this time than I was in Australia. I hoped that it would be enough.
Q. When you come into a tournament like this, most of the top 20 were here, how do you approach that? How do you see your chances?
BELINDA BENCIC: I mean, obviously I’m not coming into this tournament thinking about winning at all. It’s really seeing who I play first round. You just see the first round, you try to win that.
As I said, after I beat Voegele, to be in the third round, the tournament was great for me, solid. To beat Sabalenka was a bonus. I didn’t have to beat her, she’s top 10, she had the pressure.
Basically after these two rounds, I was just going forward.
Q. You mentioned on the court your fitness, that you feel good. Is this the fittest you’ve ever felt?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, definitely. I actually wanted to say that on the court. This is definitely the fittest I’ve ever felt. I think it’s showing a lot in my game. I definitely need it. I think we did amazing work over there last year. Martin is my fitness coach for the past year now.
Yeah, I mean, we did amazing work. It showed.
Q. Is it a good time to start going skydiving? Are you worried about injuring yourself?
BELINDA BENCIC: No. We are in the plane anyway all the time, so…
My dad is saying, Why risk your life, stuff like that. There is no risk, I think. Bunjee jumping is worse (smiling).
Q. You want to bunjee jump, as well?
BELINDA BENCIC: No, I don’t want to do that. Skydiving, it’s on my to-do list. We have to do it anyway in my life. We can do it now.
Q. You plan on doing the one above the Palm Jumeirah?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, it’s the first thing we will do in the morning. I’m providing a lot of heart attacks on the court. Now I’m going to provide heart attacks off the court. I mean it very seriously, yeah.
Q. The match might feel kind of like a blur. Do you remember how you were feeling early in the third, how important those early games were to you?
BELINDA BENCIC: Yeah, actually surprisingly I was feeling less nervous than yesterday, even in the second set. Petra was playing very good. I started to miss a little bit, as well, because she was putting pressure on me.
Yesterday I felt like it was slipping away from me a little bit. This third set, I was not thinking about the victory at all. That’s why I was calm. That was my mental plan actually.
Of course, in the last game at 5-2, I was super nervous. But I’m happy I just somehow put the ball in and won the game.
Q. I asked your father at the beginning for an interview. He said after the quarters. Is that the sense you had from the beginning, especially after the quarters?
BELINDA BENCIC: I don’t know why he said it. Maybe he wanted to get rid of you (laughter). But now he has to give you the interview, yeah.