“If in January they told you that at this time of year there are tennis people saying that you are the best in the world, what would you have answered them?”, Paula Badosa was asked after knocking down Maria Sakkari 7-6 (4) 6-4 to get a foot and a half in the semifinals of the WTA Finals. “That it was impossible,” replied the Spanish. And he burst into tears with emotion.

Badosa has starred in an intense emotional and sporting journey in 2021. Jumping 60 places in the ranking, from 70th to 10th, premiering her record first in Belgrade and then in Indian Wells and getting among the eight best of the course.

“Maybe the mind is now my best weapon when a couple of years ago it was the worst I had. I was the typical player who said I played well but had no head to be among the best in the world. I listened to it so much that I set the goal of trying to be one of the best mentally and I think I am succeeding. That part is the most difficult to improve and the step has been very big this year, “he reflected earlier, after a game in which he held the index to his temple several times while looking at his team.


His psychologist, Dani de la Serna, has been instrumental in the conversion. “He is more than that, he is my best friend. He is pending 365 days a year and he helps me a lot. At this level there is a lot of pressure and expectations to know how to manage it”, says the tennis player who will turn 24 on Monday and that in three seasons she has gone from thinking about leaving tennis to being in the elite.

In addition, in September, Badosa broke with her coach Javier Martí to return to Jorge García, who worked with her in Valencia as a junior. “It is an abysmal change that I feel with him. He has given me stability. Being 24 hours and seven days a week on top of me, controlling every piece of chocolate that doesn’t work for me. I have always had a good connection with Jorge, we understand each other in everything and it gives me the comfort of knowing that if there is a bad match, nothing happens “, she explains about her return to the origins. A circle that the junior Roland Garros champion in 2015 has closed successfully.