Roger Federer took the trouble to personally inform potential Tokyo doubles partner Belinda Bencic of his decision to skip the Games due to knee problems well ahead of his public announcement last week.
The pair who combined to lift titles for Switzerland at the 2018 and 2019 Hopman Cup team events in Perth, had been chatting about combining again at the Olympics.
But Federer’s decision to miss the event put paid to the Bencic doubles dream.
The WTA No. 12 will have to content herself with women’s doubles alongside Viktorija Golubic.
“Of course I was very sad and disappointed, but I really appreciated that he called me. I know from my own experience what it feels like to be injured,” she told Swiss tabloid Blick.
“And health is always the top priority. I told him I hope he recovers well and will be back on court soon.”
Due to the stiff Olympic COVID protocols, the Swiss team took five hours to claar airport health checks.
But Bencic said she’s not fussed: “I’ve had 76 PCR tests this year, I’m a professional – but it has never been as extensive and complicated as it is in Japan.
After three pre-travel virus tests and mountains of Japanese paperwork upon arrival, Bencic worried she might have stuffed up part of her bureaucratic duties.
“I was really nervous whether I had done everything right.
“But for me it is a dream come true to be here with all these athletes from all over the world.”
Main photo:- Belinda Bencic and Roger Federer won 2019 Hopman Cup in Perth