New world No. 13 Paula Badosa acknowledged that former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka made her work absolutely hard for the Indian Wells Masters crown. Badosa, 24, edged out two-time Indian Wells champion Azarenka 7-6 (5) 2-6 7-6 (2) to win her maiden Masters title.
Azarenka had the experience on her side but Badosa stepped up and overcame all the challenges to win the biggest title of her career. "She raises your level because she keeps pushing you, pushing you. She forces you a lot and that's what I felt today.
She was forcing me, 'OK, if you want to win, you have to play the best tiebreak of your life.' But that's what I had to do. I had no option. So amazing on that," Badosa told the WTA Tour. "I think I'm finding that balance and to be aggressive, but at the same time trying to be a good defender, to run a lot.
I was struggling a lot a year ago. Because I was very aggressive but then to move, it was quite difficult for me. I'm tall and big, so I think I did a big change on that and I have to give all the credit to my fitness coach."
Badosa showed great mental strength
Badosa says she knows she has the level to compete against the best players in the world but added that in those key moments you also have to show great mental strength if you want to win.
"I say it a lot, but it's a little bit like that, to believe in that moment," Badosa explained. "Because the shots, you have them. I played a very good match today, but I think the key is that in that 6-all, mentally, you have to have something different or something special in that moment because the shots, I think Barbora has them, I have them, Iga has them. So a lot of players have them. But in that moment, who plays better?"