Paula Badosa says she now perfectly understands why Iga Swiatek was struggling last year and at times even crying on the court. Swiatek was just 19 when she won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2020 French Open. In late 2021, Badosa won her maiden Masters title and broke into the top-10 for the first time in her career.
Compared to any previous season, Badosa entered this year with high expectations and big pressure. "I was talking with my coach about Iga Swiatek because I remember last year she was suffering a lot with every match," Badosa told WTA Insider.
"I remember seeing her crying on the court. "But at the beginning of this year I was talking to my coach and I said I totally understand now what she's feeling. Because at the beginning I didn't know what was happening.
This happens to me now. I wanted to cry in the third set today. There's so much pressure on you and at the end of the day, you're all alone on the court. It's a very mental game. But I'm happy I'm getting through it."
Badosa: I know there's pressure and expectation on me now
"A lot of people are maybe used to seeing me winning matches, but it's not a normal thing," Badosa said. "Mentally, it's changed. I feel pressure, I feel expectations, like you have to do a minimum of results to have people feel happy and calm.
It's a big change. And I feel it with my opponents. They play against me, and maybe I'm a little bit more tight and they play loose. "Now I admire even more my idols because it's a very tough process. But I think I'm doing it well and I'm trying to focus on myself and what I have to do in that moment and not think about those things.
I know that maybe now I'm doing well, but next week I can lose against anyone because the level is very high. The most important is to stay humble and work, have a good relationship like I have with my team and keep going."