Belinda Bencic, who is on a losing run of three matches and is missing from the French Open with a back injury, is set to return to the circuit at Eastbourne.
The 19-year-old has been absent from the WTA Tour for two months, since she lost to American Laura Davis at Indian Wells in California. And Davis has taken Bencic’s place at Roland Garros, after the Swiss star withdrew from the second Grand Slam of the season.
The world #8 has been suffering from a back injury since the reversal to Davis and was criticised by compatriot Martina Hingis for competing in too many tournaments.
Hingis’ mother is the mentor of Bencic, who sensationally stole the show at Devonshire Park with her fearless game that saw her wipe the floor with every opponent.
But Bencic, the current world #8, has been pushing herself this season with the inevitable injury putting paid to her chance to climb into the world’s top five. She kicked off the campaign by reaching the semi-finals in Sydney but was toppled in the 4th Round at the Australian Open.
Bencic finished runner-up in St. Petersburg yet her mixed fortunes have seen her suffer early exits in six other tournaments, including the prestigious event at Charleston, where her back issues first surfaced.
The teenager won over the Centre Court crowd and critics alike at Devonshire Park last season, and a few hours after picking up the pre-Wimbledon title was seen with her coach joyously skipping through the town centre clutching her trophy.
If she can be fit for the 2016 Aegon International, then she will be once more served star treatment by the enthusiastic fans at Eastbourne, who embrace their favourites regardless of their form or fitness.