'I love Russia, I love the tournaments & the breakfasts!' Meet Kremlin Cup 2019 winner Belinda Bencic (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Bencic crushed home favorite Anastasia Pavlyuchenko in the final at Krylatskoye Ice Palace on Sunday, bouncing back to eventually cruise home 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, winning the 30th edition of the tournament which became the first ever international tennis event in the country upon its creation in 1990.
The win was the icing on the cake for Bencic, who had already accomplished her main mission of qualifying for the WTA Tour Finals in Shenzhen, China, by winning her semi-final against Kristina Mladenovic.
After her final victory, Bencic discussed her love of playing in Russia and her affinity for Russian breakfasts, in particular 'syrniki', or cottage cheese pancakes.
"I love Russia, I love the tournaments here, I love Russian breakfasts. I love the little syrniki," Bencic gushed in her press conference.
Following her win over French player Mladenovic, Bencic took time out to speak to RT Sport about her emotions in reaction to qualifying for the WTA Tour Finals, the annual at end-of-season tournament contested by the world's top-ranked players.
“My emotions are over the top I can't believe it's over and I finally reached it... But obviously my celebration on the court was for the Moscow finals but as well for a spot in Shenzhen," she said.
By virtue of her heroics in Moscow, Bencic currently sits in 7th place in the WTA rankings, somewhere she insists she plans to stay after last entering the world top 10 in 2016, only to quickly exit.
Bencic also spoke about her 20-time Grand Slam winning compatriot Roger Federer, with whom she partnered in a successful 2018 and 2019 Hopman Cup campaign, saying he would love to play Russian world no. 4 Daniil Medvedev on Moscow's Red Square, should the two get the opportunity.
In a prior interview with RT, Medvedev said his 'dream match' would take place against Federer at the iconic landmark in his hometown.
"Well I definitely think so! I mean, it’s a very nice opportunity for Daniil to maybe make it happen," Bencic said.
"He’s been dominating the tour in the last month pretty amazingly so big well done to him, he’s a very smart and intelligent player. So i hope they can somehow agree to it."
“My dream match in my dream place for me would definitely be Wimbledon final. So that’s enough for me,” she added.
Bencic is one of a number of new players that represent a new generation in women's tennis alongside others such as 15-year-old American Coco Gauff and 19-year-old Canadian US Open champ Bianca Andreescu.
Still herself only 22, Bencic herself has previously predicted those players will eventually "naturally" replace veterans such as Serena Williams.
Away from women's tennis, Bencic is a self-proclaimed fan of the men's game and has described the emerging rivalry between Medvedev and Federer as "amazing" for the sport.
"It's very good how the top three they are unbelievable legends, they are on the top forever and the younger guys they have a very difficult job to overtake their place because they are just that amazing," she said.
"I really love to watch men's tennis and it's really good to see them all competing now and the younger guys you know challenging the older ones and the older ones not letting them take their place. For me it's very entertaining as a fan."
Bencic is the top-ranked Swiss player in the women's game, as is Federer in the men's, but the Flawil-native says there is no such rivalry between her and perhaps the greatest player of all time.
"I definitely don't think I can be a rival for Roger Federer," she said. "I don’t think anyone can be. So definitely not.
"I’m just incredibly grateful I got to meet him in Hopman Cup and you know what, he has been telling me the tips he gave me the experience to play next to him and also to spend some time with him on the tournament it's for me amazing and for all Switzerland and for tennis I think he’s just been amazing."
In the men's final played directly after Bencic's win over Pavlyuchenkova, emerging Russian star Andrey Rublev bettered Frenchman and 2018 finalist Adrian Mannarino in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.
Rublev bagged his first ever Kremlin Cup title on his 22nd birthday, to a chorus of 'happy birthday' chants from the crowd, and described the experience as his "best birthday ever."