Paula Badosa couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the draw at the Adelaide International. Just two and a half months after beating former number one Victoria Azarenka in a three-hour final to win her first WTA 1000 title in Indian Wells, the two would now meet again in their opening matches of the 2022 season.
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“To be honest, when I saw it yesterday, I thought it was a joke,” Badosa told WTA Insider. “I was watching the giveaway for 10 minutes. I didn’t talk to anyone, I was just looking at it. I was like, ‘Okay Paula, it’s not going to change even if you sit here for an hour, so stop.’ seeing him.'”
The Indian Wells final, which won the World 8 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-6 (2), left a lasting impression on both players. Coming out of their first career meeting, Badosa and Azarenka were effusive in their respect for each other’s effort and quality. The two joked about an immediate rematch and their competitive connection forged a camaraderie.
Even before the tie fell in Adelaide, Badosa and Azarenka signed to play doubles together.
“The funniest thing is that I had practiced with her today,” Badosa said. “So yesterday after the draw came out, we thought, ‘What do we do?’ And we think, ‘It’s okay for us. We can practice. I learn from you, she learns from me.’ The game is one thing, and why not, we can practice the day before. So that’s what we did. “
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Her opening match, which is scheduled for Tuesday, aside, the 24-year-old Spaniard spoke to WTA Insider about her approach to the 2022 season and how she is dealing with the new pressures and responsibilities that come with her rise to the circuit’s elite. .
WTA Insider: How was your offseason?
Badosa: Well, I didn’t have that many days. I had a week, maybe 10 days, but I tried to disconnect a lot and I think I succeeded. Ten days was enough for me. On the 7th I already wanted to play tennis.
The Maldives were amazing. Being there, eating what you want and doing nothing, I enjoyed it. I love being near the beach. I grew up with him so it was amazing for me. I also had to do gymnastics every day because I didn’t have that much time to prepare for the next season, so at least I was getting a little exercise. But the rest of the day I disconnected.
WTA Insider: After a great 2021 season and finishing strong, how do you feel entering the 2022 season?
Badosa: It is a different feeling. I am very, very motivated this year. I really want to do great things and I think I worked very hard this preseason thinking only about that. And of course I had an amazing season last year, but you always want more and do better, to be honest. So that’s kind of my goal this year.
WTA Insider: Any changes to your team from Guadalajara?
Badosa: Same team. I really don’t like changes, to be honest. When I have changes it is because I have no other option. But if I can, I don’t like them because I think tennis is already very hard and having changes is never easy mentally.
WTA Insider: You’ve been practicing this week with a ton of different players, some of whom you used to play on the ITF Circuit. Do you think that having passed through the lower levels helps to strengthen those ties?
Badosa: Yesterday I was practicing with Leylah and I remembered that two years ago, we were both in qualifying. Maybe she had 200 in the world and I had 120. And now we are seeing each other and I am Top 10 and she has 20 in the world and plays very well. It is so nice to see all these players, Rybakina too, that we are growing and we have a good relationship. Nothing changes and that is important.
“I think you have to stay humble and work hard because one day you are awake and the next day you may be depressed.”
WTA Insider: Pressures can change as results roll in and rankings rise. How do you make sure nothing changes between you?
Badosa: I think doing that is normalizing things. Sometimes it seems so complicated and people change.
But I think you have to be normal because one day you are here and the next day you can be out of the Top 100 because the level is very, very high. I think you have to stay humble and work hard because one day you are awake and the next day you may be depressed.
WTA Insider: You are now Top 10, Indian Wells Champion. Is it difficult to approach things “normally”, as you say?
Badosa: I’m getting closer. I think even a week ago, I wasn’t even aware of what happened because it was crazy. Also in Spain many things were very intense.
But now when I got here, I was with my coach and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m number 8 in the world, huh?’ I won Indian Wells and had a good year. Now I am trying to approach it a little better. So yeah, I think sometimes you need some time and when it’s the first time you need a little more time.
But of course, as you can see, the season is already starting difficult and it is going to be very tough. That is why it is very important to be humble and work hard.
WTA Insider: You mentioned that things were intense in Spain after the season ended. How do you approach being more in the center of attention? You enjoy it?
Badosa: To be honest, I don’t really like it because I grew up in a small town and my goal was to be the best I could be as a tennis player. But of course, when you are a good tennis player, you have these things off the court. I have to start getting used to it.
I think the things I enjoyed the most were the photoshoots. I’ve gotten a bit used to that because my parents were in the fashion industry. Some days, if I’m not too tired, I enjoy it a little. And I learned that it is another world, so I like to learn new things.
Sometimes I get stressed because it’s something I’m not used to because I just want to play tennis. I don’t want the other things. But of course I know it’s part of my job and I’m happy with it because that means I’m doing very well at my job. So I’m slowly trying to get used to it. I have an amazing team that helps me get through that.