Timea Bacsinszky has just survived an upset scare, having saved six match points to hold off Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(8) and earn a spot in the fourth round of BNP Paribas Open. And the adrenaline is still flowing. A perfect time to sit down with the No. 16-ranked Swiss, who at 26 is playing some of the best tennis of her career.
Q: That was a crazy match. How did you pull it out?
Timea Bacsinszky: Next question? [Laughing.] Is there a hospital nearby? To be serious, when you’re at 6-all in the third and you play such a rollercoaster match, you know it can go either way. There are no right tactics. There are no things to do. It’s really a feeling thing. At 6-all, we both deserved it. She played with her heart. I think I did, too — I know I did. It’s a coin flip. It wasn’t amazing tennis — it was just a huge fight from both of us.
Q: Tell me about your ability the last couple of years to raise your level at the biggest events? Olympic silver medal in doubles, quarters and semis at Roland Garros, quarters at Wimbledon.
TB: It’s a big difference. I was totally a different player before. When I sign on for a tournament, no mater which one, I’m normally quite fit to play it. Otherwise, I’m not playing it. I prefer to play 15 tournaments and be 100 percent, than to play 25 and have to withdraw. I really hate to do that. I did it once already this year. I felt awful. It’s scheduling and being more mature. To be honest with myself helps. It’s where you set your priorities.
Q: U.S. News & World Report recently published a poll that named Switzerland the best country in the world in terms of quality of life.
TB: Sure. Are you surprised?
Q: Sell me on your homeland.
TB: You already know about the cheese, the chocolate, the watches, the banks, the mountains, the lakes, the vineyards. Of course, I have no watch sponsors, no cheese sponsors, no chocolate sponsors. [Laughs.] It’s well organized, I think. What helps also is education. At minimum, you speak two, three languages. If you’re living in the French part, you have to learn German. If you’re living in the German part, you have to learn French. If you’re living in the Italian part, you probably have to learn both. Bad luck. Then you have English, with options of Italian or Spanish. So, you go into life at 16 and you have a basis of several languages. It makes your brain probably work a little more than other countries that may not be offering this huge opportunity. Swiss Germans are way more organized that the French-speaking Swiss — like me! But I have a Swiss German boyfriend, so I’m getting the balance. The air is so fresh. Lausanne is the best city in the world. And we have Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its vineyards. I think Swiss people are pretty healthy. Healthy living, good balance.
Q: I’m sold. Can you explain The Roger Federer Phenomenon? Nobody moves the needle quite like your countryman.
TB: He manages everything so well, staying active on all social media, with sponsors, and being the best player ever. Eighteen Grand Slams — come on! Sometimes it’s tough to be a fellow Swiss. The guys now (Federer and Stan Wawrinka) have 21 Grand Slams. If I win a tournament, it’s like, “Hmmm, okay.” You’re, like, No. 15 in the world, and they’re like, “That’s okay.” It’s going to be tough to be the next generation. I don’t want to be in that generation. Thank God it’s probably going to be over for me.