Paula Badosa took to Instagram to fondly reflect on going from asking Rafael Nadal for a selfie to being his United Cup teammate. In 2014 - when Badosa was a promising Spanish junior - she met her idol Nadal and took a selfie.
At the start of the 2023 season, Badosa and Nadal were teammates on the Spanish team during the inaugural United Cup. For Badosa, it was quite a moment and proof of how far she made it in tennis. "2014 -> 2023," Badosa captioned her Instagram Story.
Badosa made a big comeback in front of Nadal
In her lone United Cup singles match, former world No 2 Badosa came back from a set down to beat Great Britain's Harriet Dart 6-7 (6) 7-6 (5) 6-1. Before Badosa took on the court, Nadal was beaten by Cameron Norrie and Great Britain had a 2-0 lead over Spain going into the Badosa-Dart match.
When Badosa was starting the match, she didn't want Nadal to come because she feared she would mess up in front of her idol. Down by a set and experiencing cramps early in the second set, the situation didn't look good for Badosa.
But the Spaniard was able to recover and claim a three-set win. “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 in April.