Paula Badosa revealed she was hoping Rafael Nadal would not come to watch her United Cup match because he was her idol and she knew she would get super nervous because she would not want to disappoint him. At the inaugural United Cup - which took place in the first week of the 2023 season - Badosa and Nadal represented Spain.
In her lone singles match played at the United Cup, Badosa recovered from a set down to beat Great Britain's Harriet Dart 6-7 (6) 7-6 (5) 6-1 - Nadal was at the Spanish bench supporting Badosa. Down by a set, Badosa started experiencing cramps early in the second set.
But fortunately for Badosa, she was able to overcome cramps - recover from a set down - and make Nadal proud.
Badosa on Nadal watching her: I was feeling super nervous
“I was praying for him not to come. And it was 2-1 in the first set, and he appeared.
And I was like, ‘Wow! Paula, don't think that's Rafa Nadal watching you.’ Because he is my idol. So it was very tough. But then I played amazing, and I was so proud of myself. I was super nervous. Rafa is my idol since I was 5.
To have him on the bench cheering for me and talking to me on the changeovers was crazy. He was very proud. He was happy about the level. And he said, playing like this, I would have an amazing year. So I hope Rafa's right," Badosa said on Tennis Channel.
Great Britain had a 2-0 lead over Spain when Badosa came out on the court to play against Dart. Badosa's comeback win over Dart helped Spain cut the deficit to 2-1 and stay alive. But in the fourth match, Daniel Evans defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas to seal a 3-1 victory for Great Britain over Spain. With that loss, Badosa and the Spanish team concluded their United Cup campaign in the group stage.