Former world No. 1 Simona Halep, eighth-ranked Paula Badosa and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez are all set to play doubles at the Australian Open. Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion, will be teaming up fellow Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.
Badosa, the 2021 WTA Finals runner-up, is set to play with Elena Rybakina at Melbourne Park. Meanwhile, Fernandez will be teaming up Erin Routliffe.
Just a few days ago, Badosa expressed her desire to play Halep and the two could now potentially meet in a doubles clash at the Australian Open.
Exclusive @AustralianOpen Doubles Final List! Some surprises: @Simona_Halep / @Gabriela_Ruse, @paulabadosa / Rybakina, @SofiaKenin / Putintseva, @KikiMladenovic / @CaroGarcia, @leylahfernandez / Routliffe, @MirzaSania / N Kichenok, @andreapetkovic / Cristian etc #AusOpen #AO2022 pic.twitter.com/E5u60Dcll6 — Daniel Radu (@danielradutenis) December 23, 2021
"I would love to play against Halep, I have admired her very much, I like her very complete style of play. I don't think we look alike playing very much but I am very attracted to the style she has, it goes far beyond being defensive or aggressive.
She has both, so I would love to face her to see how she does it," Badosa told Punto de Break.
Badosa wants to leave a mark in tennis
"I would like to be something more, to leave a mark in tennis for different things.
I think that by explaining what I feel or what I have gone through at certain times I can help a lot to young people who are starting out," Badosa said. Badosa enjoyed a strong end to the season, having won the Indian Wells Masters and finished runner-up at the WTA Finals.
Badosa is now one of the best players in the world and she knows she has a target on her back. "Yes, of course. And it is not that they study you anymore. You are in the spotlight. Now everyone wants to beat you. Tennis players play with less pressure against you and you play with the obligation to win.
It is delicate, but in the world of tennis there is always something. When you are 70th in the world you fight to be at the top, and when you are at the top you fight to stay. You set yourself a constant challenge. But that's the beauty of this sport," Badosa told Eurosport Espana.