Tennis star's 'telling' response to female counterpart's brutal troll

Belinda Bencic won herself plenty of fans with her unusual pledge to raise money for bushfire relief efforts, but she seems to have inadvertently thrown German counterpart Alexander Zverev under the bus in doing so.

The 22-year-old Swiss up and comer’s tongue in cheek pledge to donate $200 for every double fault she commits was her way of recognising the biggest flaw in her game - her serve.

Unfortunately for Zverev, Bencic tagged him in her tweet pledging the donations - but the German’s radio silence on the matter has tennis experts questioning how much faith he has in his own serve.

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One of the top young players looking to unseat the veteran triumvirate of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the spotlight will be on Zverev’s serve as the world no.7 seeks to improve on his best finish at the Australian Open.

Tennis reporter Courtney Nguyen, joining co-host Ben Rothenberg on the No Challenges Remaining podcast, said Zverev’s silence on the matter was ‘telling’.

Alexander Zverev was the target of a gentle joke from female counterpart Belinda Bencic on social media, but his silence afterwards has critics wondering whether the joke might have touched a nerve. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

“The interesting thing about the Bencic tweet is was set up so that however Sascha responds it’s, like, very telling,” Nguyen said.

“Either he embraces the ‘haha yeah i hit a s**t ton of double faults and let’s laugh about it’ in the same vein as Belinda, which is actually the smart PR move on it.

“If he did do that it would maybe just diffuse some of the pressure. Or, what he’s doing, which is dead silence, which is also telling.”

Players continue to donate to bushfire relief

Bencic was one of many athletes to pledge money to the bushfire relief efforts last week, a trend kicked off when Nick Kyrgios pledged to donate $200 for every ace he hit during the ATP Cup.

The latest massive donation came from Serena Williams, who donated her entire $62,000 paycheck for winning the WTA Auckland Classic over the weekend.

The ATP will donate $725,000 to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund as part of the bushfire relief efforts, the governing body of men's tennis says.

The donation from players was announced by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after Serbia defeated Spain to capture the inaugural ATP Cup team event in Sydney.

The Australian bush has been burning for nearly three months and the fires have killed 28 people, claimed 2000 homes and consumed millions of acres of land and wildlife.

"This donation with the ATP is on behalf of all the players and our thoughts and support go out to all those who have been affected," ATP Player Council president Djokovic added in a statement.