Badosa enjoys her moment in Madrid

Antonio Arenas Mutua News, Women's Tennis

Paula Badosa will be one of Spanish tennis’ biggest weapons on the clay of the Mutua Madrid Open. With her powerful and aggressive game, ideal for the conditions in the Caja Mágica, her participation is hotly anticipated by the home fans. This hugely talented player will be keen to make the most of her wildcard from the tournament’s organisers.

Now an emerging talent on the tour, Badosa will be playing in the event’s final draw for the third time. It will be her first appearance as a member of the world’s top 100, she is well on her way to sporting maturity and has already established herself as one of the most charismatic players in the locker room. Her connection with Madrid, the city she currently calls home, will be stronger than ever.

“It’s always special to return to this tournament”, acknowledges Paula, who plays her opener on Thursday against Czech player Barbora Krejcikova. “Madrid is a very important event on our calendar. It has a small draw where all the matches are very tough from the first round. Also, playing at home with all the people makes it pretty special.

Looking back, Paula remembers some of her best moments in the Caja Mágica. Although her two previous appearances in the main draw (2015, 2016) ended in withdrawal, the New York-born player is using those incidents to spur her on to return to Madrid with a bang.

“My best memories of the Caja Mágica are quite funny”, says Badosa, guided by the advice of her coach Javier Martí. “The first year I played I was very young. I was only 17 and I managed to get through qualies. It was an incredible experience even though I had to withdraw. The second year I won my first main-draw match against Alize Cornet. It was bittersweet because I had to withdraw, but I love the event. I really love this tournament. Even though they finished like that I really enjoyed it”.

Despite hoping for a different outcome this year, the warmth of the public will be the same as ever. The fans will be able to cheer on one of their biggest talents, and create an atmosphere from the stands in every match. This is something Badosa sees as a challenge.

“Playing at home is different”, she admits. “It’s a different kind of tension, you really want to do well, for your people to see you do well. Apart from motivating you, it’s a different pressure to other weeks. You have to accept it. I’m really excited to be here and can’t wait to compete here again”.