Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Roger Federer at a press conference after his first-round victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday.
After his first-round win against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday night, seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer was asked about his compatriot, Belinda Bencic, who lifted the Dubai women’s singles trophy on Saturday night.
“Look, I definitely didn’t expect it. I still think, like she also thought, it was sort of work in progress, her whole comeback,” said Federer. “This is what sports does, they write great stories.”
This was Bencic’s first Tour-level title since mid-2015 and comes after she missed several months with injuries that saw her ranking drop from seven to 318.
“I’m happy for her, number one, that she’s healthy. I remember she called me in Miami last year and she said, ‘My foot was hurting.’ My physio took a look and said, ‘It’s not great, I’m sorry to tell you, but you need some more time off.’
“And this is after the wrist issues she had before,” Federer continued. “It was hard for her. She came back for the French (Open), even though she wasn’t ready yet. All that stuff lingers for a long time. I think she’s coming from far behind. She tried things out with her team. Also just in her game, I guess.
“I think it’s nice that things fell into place maybe a little bit earlier than she expected. I thought the way she did it was tremendous, beating four top-10 players in exhilarating matches, to be honest. I think that was wonderful for her.
“I saw her briefly. It was déjà vu. Every day I saw her at the courts, every day I congratulated her, every day she went on to win the next one. And then the next day I saw her at lunch, and I quickly saw her after the finals before she left.
“She was so happy. It was a pleasure to see her play a little bit, and also happy that everything is coming together with her father and her fitness coach right now.”