Paula Badosa started 2021 in 70th place in the WTA ranking. And with a start. Several positives in COVID-19 on the flight chartered by the organization for tennis players to Australia led to a contagion and the expected 14 days of quarantine became 21 locked in a hotel. He lost in the first round. Nine months later, the 23-year-old Catalan debuts tonight (02:30, TDP and DAZN) in a WTA Finals against Aryna Sabalenka, two of the world. She is among the eight most regular tennis players of the year. And it is top-10, a condition that only Garbiñe Muguruza (also present in the Masters), Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Conchita Martínez and Carla Suárez had reached in Spain.
“After the first tournament of the year, in Abu Dhabi, my coach told me that I would finish top-30 playing like this. And I replied that no, I would at most fifty! “, remember funny from Guadalajara (Mexico).
In May in Belgrade he premiered his record After a semifinal in Madrid, she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, she was painting very well at the Tokyo Games when she had to retire due to a heat stroke (she defeated Iga Swiatek, champion in Paris and rival in her group) and gave the bell in Indian Wells on October 17, the best WTA 1,000, proclaiming herself champion. A 60-place climb in the rankings and a confirmation of what he aimed for when he won Roland Garros 2015 and everything went wrong, between depressions, not being able to cope with expectations.
“Indian Wells has given me a shot, but I also come from a very intense year,” he reflects. “He’s being tough mentally because my life has changed so fast and I need to disconnect. But the Finals are a dream tournament and I’m going to give everything I have left in reserve ”, he warns.
After his triumph in the Californian desert, Badosa returned to Madrid and decided to give up competing with Spain in the finals of the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague last week. The 11,000 km of travel and Extreme conditions in Guadalajara (1,566 meters of altitude) threw her back: “I haven’t relaxed much. It has been stressful because of the repercussion ”.
Paula Badosa talking about mental health and sports psychology in primetime television.
From 10. 🤍 pic.twitter.com/FRR2v3hnbg
– Raúl Morote Gil (@RauulMorote) November 2, 2021
Even so, being in the top-ten makes her feel “excited, motivated and eager to compete against the best”. “I start with a very tough game. I played a couple of months ago against Sabalenka and I know what I am going to find, but I come to that ”. It was in Cincinnati in August, and she defeated the Belarusian in three sets.
Since 2000 (Arantxa and Conchita) two Spanish women did not coincide in the appointment of teachers. And Badosa feels fulfilled next to a player who already has two Grand Slams and has as a “mirror”. “Garbiñe broke all the schemes. He won Wimbledon (2017) and such an aggressive and dynamic game was not common. She is a different player. I am also tall (1.80 m.) And I have been very inspired by his tennis. Hopefully we can be among the top ten for a long time ”, wishes Badosa. Ready to fight and aware of where she was two years ago: “Still playing ITF tournaments.” Then came the big rush.