Switzerland's Belinda Bencic wins tennis gold amid medical timeout controversy

·2 min read

Switzerland's Belinda Bencic won Olympic gold in women's singles tennis on Saturday with a three-set victory over the Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova.

It didn't come without controversy. 

Leading 4-3 in the third set, Bencic called for a medical timeout to receive treatment on her right foot. She appeared to have sustained a blister on her big toe. A trainer spent several minutes working on the toe as Vondrousova kept warm on her side of the court, preparing for her serve.

Rennae Stubbs: 'You should have to do this before your serve'

NBC commentator Rennae Stubbs did not like what she was seeing. 

"This is a pivotal time to call a trainer," Stubbs said. 

When prompted to expound on her thoughts, the former tennis pro likened the timeout to icing the kicker in football. 

"You should have to do this before you serve," Stubbs continued, noting that the blister wasn't a significant injury that required immediate attention. "This is an obvious blister. In my opinion, you shouldn't be allowed to do this before your opponent's serve. ...

"This is called icing the kicker — icing the server down on the other end."

TOPSHOT - Switzerland's Belinda Bencic celebrates after defeating Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles tennis final match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Belinda Bencic won the first of two medals she'll take home from Tokyo. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Bencic breaks Vondrousova in 4 straight points

After having her toe wrapped, Bencic put her shoe back on and took some warmup swings before taking her stance to receive serve. She then won the game on four straight points for the first break of the set. She held serve while leading 5-3 to secure a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 win to claim the gold medal. 

Did her medical timeout make a difference in the pivotal eighth game of the final set? We'll never know, of course. That Vondrousova failed to score a point on her final serve won't tamp down the chatter. 

Bencic on a tear in Tokyo

Controversy or not, Bencic's victory continues a remarkable Olympics for the 24-year-old, who improved to 10-0 in Tokyo while winning the first of two medals. She'll team with Viktorija Golubic on Sunday against the Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the women's doubles final with a shot at another gold medal. 

She's guaranteed a silver medal at worst and could walk away with two golds and an 11-0 performance in Tokyo. 

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