Cape Town - Roger Federer is both surprised and overjoyed by fellow Swiss star Belinda Bencic's recent upturn in form.
After reaching a career-high No 7 in the world in February 2016, Bencic suffered a loss of form and injury the following year and slumped to outside the world 100.
However, she showed signs of recovery in 2018 and at the 2019 Australian Open, and things finally came together at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last week.
The 21-year-old beat the likes of Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova en route to lifting her first WTA Tour singles title since August 2015.
Her compatriot Federer, with whom she won the Hopman Cup at the start of the year, described her comeback is one of the great stories.
“I’m really happy for her, but I definitely didn’t expect it,” he is quoted as saying by Khaleej Times. “I still think, like she also thought, it was sort of work in progress, her whole comeback. But this is what sports does, they write great stories.”
He added: “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.”