Badosa puts Australia on notice

January 19, 2022

MELBOURNE (AP) — Just a year ago, Paula Badosa was holed up in a hotel room in Australia after contracting the coronavirus on a charter flight to the country.

The Spaniard was the only player to test positive ahead of the Australian Open.

After spending 21 days in quarantine, Badosa had to undertake the Grand Slam event with just one day of training. Physically depleted, she succumbed at the first opportunity to Liudmila Samsonova, a rival that on paper she should have overcome.

Badosa left Australia speaking of the worst experience of his life, complaining of bouts of “anxiety and claustrophobia”.

But the rest of 2021 brought another story.

She reached the quarterfinals at the French Open, was crowned champion in Indian Wells and reached the WTA semifinals in Guadalajara, losing to compatriot Garbiñe Muguruza. She is currently number six in the female ranking when she was 70 12 months ago.

Badosa is a title contender at the first Grand Slam of the season, and her two landslide victories so far at Melbourne Park have confirmed her status.

She opened on Monday with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Ajla Tomljanović and on Tuesday dispatched Italian Martina Trevisan 6-0, 6-3 to reach the third round and post her best performance of the tournament.

“I am very proud of myself. A year ago I was locked in a room. And now I’m here playing on the main court”, said Badosa, who was preceded by the conquest of a title in the tournament in Sydney last week. “I’m growing as a person and as a player day by day.”

“It is not easy to play as a favourite. It’s a new experience for me, but I’m enjoying it and I’m happy.” “I’m not going to lie, they feel nervous, but I have to focus on myself. I have no secrets.”

Her rival on duty will be the Ukrainian Marta Kostuyk.

“Everything is running smoothly. I enjoy every day,” said Badosa. “I know that I am going to play very difficult games here. It is never easy to play as a favourite. It’s a new experience, but I’m getting used to it.”