Paula Badosa gets real on chronic issue, living with pain amid emotional Wimbledon

Badosa was happy but also very emotional after making the Wimbledon round-of-16.

by Dzevad Mesic
SHARE
Paula Badosa gets real on chronic issue, living with pain amid emotional Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

Paula Badosa says reaching the Wimbledon round-of-16 is the "most special" second week she has made in a Grand Slam just because now she is dealing with a chronic back issue, which causes her to often play through pain and never know what to expect when she wakes up in the morning. 

At this year's Wimbledon, Badosa is playing her second Grand Slam since sharing in April that her back issue was diagnosed as a chronic thing and that she may not be able to stay for too long in pro tennis. And so far, it has been a great run for the 26-year-old Spaniard, who has had notable wins over 2023 French Open finalist Karolina, rising star Linda Fruhvirtova and world No. 12 Daria Kasatkina. 

On Friday, Badosa's back was put on a real test but also her mental strength - but the former world No. 2 successfully passed it after coming back from a 2-4 third-set deficit to claim a 7-6 (5) 4-6 6-4 win over Kasatkina and set up a round-of-16 meeting against Donna Vekic.

Later in her press conference, Badosa described it as a very "emotional victory" before opening up about how just a year earlier she retired from her Wimbledon second-round match and the fears of maybe not being able to continue her career. 

“Last year I had to retire and then it took me about 10 months, I was on the couch watching tournaments from home. Also when I started this year, I didn’t know what was going to happen. The doctors told me that I might not be able to continue. I’ve always been very mentally tough and a fighter, so I was going to do it anyway. So I’m very proud that I went through all that," Badosa said after the match.

"Now I’m back in the fourth round and playing at a good level again. Sometimes when I came back at the beginning of the year I also suffered a lot, my level wasn’t there. I still feel far away, but to see myself back here, it means a lot.”

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel
 

Badosa on living with a chronic issue: There are moments of pain and...

After sustaining a stress fracture in her back in 2023 May, Badosa was forced to miss the French Open last year but was hoping that with pause and treatment her issue would go away. But after she didn't play any tournaments after 2023 Wimbledon and her back issue was still there at the start of 2023, that's when the Spaniard realized that something was off. 

Then in April, Badosa revealed that in Indian Wells the doctors diagnosed her condition and chronic and that she started a new treatment for her back. When revealing that, the 26-year-old admitted that she was "scared" after the diagnosis but refused to simply quit. 

Now, Badosa admits there are moments when she feels on the court and feels "a bit lost" but her mindset is to keep going, even if it means playing through pain.

“Deep down in my heart I didn’t accept it. I thought: ‘I’m going to keep going no matter what.' I also think that made me the player I am, that I always want more and I’m always going to fight no matter how difficult it is," Badosa said.

"Obviously there are moments of pain and you don’t know what to do, you’re a bit lost, but I don’t care. I remember telling my team that I was going to play in pain. In the end we handled it very well, so I’m happy. I think I have great and very professional people around me, that helps me every day.”

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel
 

Badosa on if she feels pain at Wimbledon

When asked directly in her press conference if she was in pain now, the 26-year-old said in most cases it's manageable but also admitted that there are days that feel "worse than others."

“There are days when I feel worse than others, but it’s manageable. There are other days when it’s tough, but I also control a lot the tournaments I play, the days I train and the days I have off. I like going to the gym, I like working hard, but there are days when I can’t do that. So I’m managing it very well. I may take more days off than I would like, but that’s the only way," Badosa shared.

Paula Badosa
Paula Badosa© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel
 

Meanwhile, Badosa will be taking on 28-year-old Vekic just for the first time when they meet on Sunday. And if Badosa beats Vekic, she will reach her first Wimbledon quarterfinal. 

Paula Badosa Wimbledon
SHARE