In an interview with tennis.com at the BNP Paribas Open last month, world number 17 Timea Bacsinszky acknowledged that her fellow colleagues have started to recognise her as one of the players who should not be taken for granted. "For myself, I know that the players in 2014, they didn't take me as seriously as they are taking me now. In 2014, in my first career that I had before I started again, I wasn't the fittest player. I had many troubles inside," said Bacsinszky in the interview.
The Swiss' statement is affirmed by the fact that the she has already scored top 10 wins over the likes of Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska since returning to the tour full-time in 2014. She even gave world number one Serena Williams a run for her money in their semifinal match at the French Open last year, ringing a bell to all members of the top 10 that she is one to watch out for.
'First Career' (Pre-2015)
Known for her crafty court-skills, especially her backhand, Bacsinszky turned professional in October 2004 at the age of 15. In 2008, she made a fairytale run to the semifinals of the Proximus Diamond Games, collecting her first top 10 win en route over then-world number eight Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals before coming up to short to world number one Justine Henin. At the US Open, she came close to upsetting future world number one Dinara Safina in the third round in straight sets, but was ultimately overwhelmed by the Russian. The following year, she won her maiden WTA title at the BGL Luxembourg Open, overpowering German Sabine Lisicki in the final.
It was in early 2011 when her career took a turn for the worse after she picked up a left foot injury. The doctors who treated her said that there is a less than 50% chance she will be able to compete again. After the Miami Open, she took ten months off the tour to recuperate. Her return in 2012 was highlighted by a couple of ITF titles, but she soon decided at the end of the year that she would take a break from the sport.
An email received six months later was the turning point at that low key moment of her life. Prior to it, she had started working in restaurants and bars, having decided to pursue a hotel management course. The email stated that she was eligible to compete at the 2013 French Open qualifying rounds. Despite losing her opening match, Bacsinszky stated that she felt her passion for tennis 'rekindled'. She soon began competing regularly at ITF tournaments and eventually in 2014, WTA tournaments with her most notable result that year being the upset of Maria Sharapova in the round of 16 at the Wuhan Open. That same year, she saw her ranking rise from 285th to 48th.
'Second Career' (2015 onwards)
A stellar 2015 season saw Bacsinszky crack the top 10 for the first time in her career and finish the year as the world number 12. After cracking the top 10, the Swiss stated that it was something she never dreamed of nor did she even think was possible. Other notable achievements in 2015 include titles in Acapulco and Monterrey, coupled with semifinal and quarterfinal appearances at the French Open and Wimbledon Championships respectively. As a result, she was named WTA's 2015 Most Improved Player.
Although 2016 did not begin the way she would have wanted, a run to the semifinals at the Miami Open, along with round of 16 appearances in Indian Wells and Doha steadied the ship as the Swiss looks forward on what promises to be a promising 'second career' and to cement her status as one to watch out for in every match.