APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Another step back towards the top

Hurting, but happy, Badosa said adios to the Mutua Madrid Open today after falling to world number 9 Maria Sakkari. It was a painful defeat but the Spaniard’s improvement in recent weeks remains clear.

One step at a time, Badosa is returning to her best and shortly after today’s defeat she spoke about how positive the tournament has been for her: “I’m feeling good as I leave here, I’m in the middle of a process, I’ve been on the clay swing for a month and I’ve been feeling better, enjoying myself on court and being able to do that again is very valuable for me”. After her clash with Gauff, another top 10 player crossed swords with the Spaniard, but getting past the Greek proved a step too far: “She was very solid, she served very well, I was hesitant on a couple of service games and I didn’t have my best stuff, so it was that, together with the fact that she played at a very high level”.

Getting more tennis under her belt will now be vital for Paula’s progress, as she acknowledged: “I’m leaving here having played some good matches, a hard-fought one in the first round, maybe not playing quite as well, but it’s always good to get through them, particularly on the mental side. A good match against Coco, I also had Stuttgart, where I had some good matches. Obviously, I’m frustrated about today’s game, but I can’t go back, all I can do is look forward to Rome and Paris”.

The Spaniard also spoke about how she was feeling good coming into Madrid, but a tournament with these characteristics requires a high level and focus. She has now picked up valuable minutes on court and that is very significant to the current world number 42: “I’m playing matches, which is what I need and at the start of the year I didn’t play that much and that’s important to me, I’d say I passed the exam of this tournament and can take some positive things away from it. Also, as I’ve been saying every day, I’m very excited and motivated”.

Paula knows very well that this defeat does nothing to tarnish the mental progress she has made in recent months, which has helped the ex-world number two recover the grit and determination that she became known for: “On a mental level I’m doing well, competing again during the match, fighting. I have promised myself that, even if I’m not feeling good, I have to stay in the match and fight to the last point…”. She also has her mind set on her final goal; “the long-term objective is obviously to get back to where I was, I don’t know if it’ll be in two months, six, or a year, but I still have to rediscover a lot of things”. If one thing is for sure, though, Paula will soon be back in Madrid with a smile on her face.