Belinda Bencic has withdrawn from next week's Mutua Madrid Open with a continuing lower back injury.
Swiss teenager continues to struggle with injury
Bencic has had injury issues in 2016. Prior to reaching the Australian Open Round of 16, the Switzerland star was forced to retire after losing the first set of her semifinal match against Monica Puig in Sydney. Bencic also withdrew in Miami after playing just five games against Kristyna Pliskova. She hasn't played a match since losing in the second round of Charleston to Elena Vesnina. Despite appearing to struggle with this injury for the better part of the season, Bencic was able to reach the final of St. Petersburg, losing to Roberta Vinci.
Hingis fires criticism at Bencic
Martina Hingis, whose mother is the coach of her compatriot Bencic, has spoken out about the teenager needing to start putting her body first on the WTA Tour. The 35-year-old, a former world no.1 who retired from singles because of foot injuries, said: “At some point your body says: ‘OK, you have to put me before tennis’. “Instead of always playing tournaments, she should have practiced. As a tennis player you have to know that you do not only have to play well or in a smart way.” Bencic has taken over the nickname of ‘Swiss Miss’ afforded Hingis at her peak, yet she has lost five of her past six matches.
Timeteable for Bencic's return unkown
Bencic has not announced when she will return to the tour. She announced she would be skipping four weeks after her loss to Vesnina in Charleston. This included missing Switzerland's Fed Cup semifinal tie against defending champion Czech Republic.
Without Bencic, the Swiss lost that tie 3-2 to the Czechs, with Viktorija Golubic, who won her two singles rubbers and Hingis losing the decisive doubles rubber to Lucie Hradecka and Karolina Pliskova. Bencic had been the Swiss' most dominating player in their first round tie with Germany, winning both of her singles rubbers and teaming with Hingis to win the doubles rubber.