After 'scary' revelation, Paula Badosa reveals what would make her retire instantly

After revealing some scary details about her back injury, Badosa gives hint what could trigger her retirement.

by Dzevad Mesic
After 'scary' revelation, Paula Badosa reveals what would make her retire instantly
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Paula Badosa suggests she has come to terms that she will never again feel at 100 percent but also adds that she will play pro tennis until the day she stops believing in her abilities and chances of doing good. 

For nearly a year now, Badosa has been battling back issues and it has been pretty evident that it is becoming a thing that is just not going away. Then a few days ago, 26-year-old Badosa revealed that she started taking cortisol shots for her back and suggested that at best, she would be able to play for three or four more years. When revealing that news, Badosa used the word "scary" multiple times.

This week, Badosa is set to play at the Madrid Open. After the revelation she made, this could be one of Badosa's last Madrid appearances or even her last. Going into Madrid, Badosa's mindset is to enjoy every moment at Caja Magica and make it memorable.

"I hope I feel physically well between now and the end of the year and can gain some continuity. I am very excited to play at home, no matter how much pressure is generated, I enjoy the atmosphere of this tournament and I just want to make the most of the experience. No I know how many matches I will be able to play, but I hope to make people enjoy it too," Badosa said in Madrid.

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Badosa: I will play until I stop believing in my capabilities

In mid-March, Badosa received her first cortisol injection. Since then, Badosa has been feeling improvements with her back. However, the 26-year-old Spaniard highlights it is a chronic issue and something that can never fully go away. 

But former world No. 2 Badosa still believes that she has enough to compete well and do solid things and therefore she will keep playing. But if that starts to change, three-time WTA champion Badosa will then likely call time on her career.

"My level of tennis is still there, as could be seen last week. The back injury I have is complicated and the doctors already told me that I would always have to deal with it, because it is chronic. Since Miami I have managed to manage pain but due to the lack of matches other problems are emerging," Badosa said. 

"Feeling zero pain on the court is going to be very difficult for me, but I am handling it in the best possible way and if I manage to compete, it is already a triumph for me. I know that this year I cannot set high expectations for myself, but I look at the middle term. The day I stop believing in my possibilities of doing important things, I will stop playing,"

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa © Getty Images Sport - Sarah Reed

Badosa plans to smartly schedule her calendar

Now that it is clear that Badosa's back issue can never be fully resolved, the former world No. 2 now wants to take steps that wouldn't further compromise her back condition. And that includes playing less on hard - a surface considered the most demanding for the body - and play more on clay and grass. 

“I was like: ‘a few more years, I’m still 26.’ For me that was very tough and I’ll have to handle hard court especially, play less tournaments and all this," Badosa said on the WTA Insider podcast.

“This is like the first time that I am opening up, so I’m still pretty scared. They said this may work for a few months but we’ll have to check again, so I’m scared I’ll have to stop again.

“It’s all the time chasing this, waking up every morning and the pain it’s there and sometimes I could not handle it, but now I can. At least that’s the positive thing.

“Clay court will be the best for me, grass I think it will be OK also because it’s less impact, but hard courts I will suffer more.”

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

In Madrid, Badosa will be starting her campaign against a qualifier, which is very likely a favorable draw. 

When Badosa steps on the court in Madrid this week, she will be her eighth appearance but it will only be the sixth that she is taking part in a Madrid main draw. After suffering back-to-back Madrid first-round losses in 2015 and 2016, Badosa played in the Madrid qualifying in the next two years and didn't manage to make it past. 

In 2021, Badosa made her third Madrid main draw appearance and clinched by far her best result at Caja Magica - reaching the semifinal before losing to Ashleigh Barty. In the last two years, Badosa exited Madrid in the second round two years ago while her 2023 Madrid run ended in the round-of-16.

It remains to be seen how well can Badosa do in Madrid this year.

Paula Badosa