It was 2014 and the name of Paula Badosa began to fill headlines in Spain. A stranger from only 16 years had just been summoned by Conchita Martinez to represent Spain in the Federation Cup. The experts spoke wonders of a young woman born in the USA, but settled in Girona and, little by little, started to meet expectations put into it: a year later, it was Junior Roland Garros champion… but I was not prepared for what was to come. The successes had begun to arrive, but he still did not have the necessary tools to take on so much pressure.
That same 2015 would be in which he would debut as a professional on the WTA circuit, even reaching the Miami Masters third round. His tennis was growing, the expectations were increasing and his successes too, becoming in 2017 in champion of Spain after defeating Carla Suárez in the final … but something changed. Badosa herself explained it in ‘Marca’: “He had talent, but I was not prepared for what people expected or for the pressure who got on top of me. “And then the depression crossed his path, leaving tennis in the background.
Badosa vs. Barty at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021
“The depression came because of not doing things well, I had a lot of pressure and anxiety, I had many fears because I saw that I did not meet expectations. You have to tell it to normalize things. I did not feel like going to a track and less to compete, but it also affected my personal life. He did not want to leave the house nor did he feel like doing anything, “he explains. At that moment, he decided to look at his two idols, Nadal and Sharapova, to try to understand what was happening to him and how to get out of that deep well in which he was. Two words were key: listen and humility. Enjoying again and being happy with what I was doing was the key.
They were very hard months, where Badosa had to fight her own ghosts to smile again. But he did what Boluda failed: find the path in which tennis flowed naturally through his veins again. The talent had not disappeared and, little by little, he began to shake off his fears … Of course, starting from the bottom, from ITF tournaments to the top. In a couple of years, he added five new ITF titles to his track record to, year after year, climb positions in the ‘ranking’ of the WTA … until reaching 2021. At 24 years old, he has found the stability he needed and has signed the best year of his professional career.
For the first time in your career, reached the semifinals of two WTA tournaments, Madrid (WTA 1000) and Charleston (WTA 500), to, a few days later, make history and get their first title, becoming champion in Belgrade (WTA 250) ante Ana Konjuh. It only needed a couple more tournaments – with a physical problem in the Olympics in between – to confirm that it was the great revelation of the season, getting the title in Indian Wells after defeating Victoria Azarenka. And, to top off the year, a semifinals in the WTA Finals where he fell to his compatriot Garbiñe Muguruza, ultimately champion of the tournament.
Badosa, the cover of Roland Garros?
If you look back, what Paula Badosa achieved is really impressive. Only a few months ago, the Spanish tennis player was immersed in a depressive process that prevented her from even leading a normal life: based on work, effort and learning, she has not only overcome one of the hardest stages of her life, but has achieved smile again and enjoy what you like the most, tennis. And, now, it remains to be seen where the roof of the Spanish tennis player is: in just one year she has gone from position number 70 in the WTA to number 8 in the world and, with only 24 years, the path that lies ahead in the world tennis is spectacular.
Badosa’s big dream is to be able to win one day Roland Garros, that tournament that he already won in the junior category. Badosa has become a phoenix, a young promise who had everything to succeed but who he did not know how to assimilate the success and that, now, he has overcome adversity, has punched the table and has shown what he is capable of. After overcoming all adversities, Badosa smiles again: He has shown it in Indian Wells and in a season that represents his sporting takeoff. The Spanish is unstoppable and is happy again playing tennis. Its roof will only be known in the next few years.