Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 19- March 4, 2023
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 13, 2022

Paula Badosa – Press Conference

The Spanish No. 3 seed speaks to media ahead of the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You entered the top five for the first time. How does it feel?

PAULA BADOSA: Amazing. I’m very, very happy of it. Very proud of myself. I didn’t expect one year. I wasn’t even in this tournament, I was in quallies here. So being here top five, as a seed, it’s an amazing feeling.

Q. I feel like you’ve been here a little bit with your family. Tell us what you’ve been up to.

PAULA BADOSA: Yeah, I really like Dubai. I have an apartment here as well. I came a week ago already. I try to spend time with my family. I never can. When I can, here it was easy to have them, so, yeah, I’ve been a few days with them and enjoying.

Q. You decided that Dubai is kind of like a second base for you?

PAULA BADOSA: Yeah, could be. Yeah, second base here. Been practicing here sometimes. I really like it. I really enjoy the city, weather. People are very friendly. It’s very easy here, the facilities. It’s a very nice place to be.

Q. How do you feel your season has started given the way you finished it? Was there worry over how you would start the year? Did you surprise yourself with how well you did?

PAULA BADOSA: Well, you always have pressure and expectations. People are, like, watching what are you going to do this year. Of course, I have pressure. Of course, I was feeling at the beginning of the year. And it’s going to be like this the entire year if I keep this level and this rank. They all play like nothing to lose against you, so they’re very tough matches when I play.

But I think I’m getting through it very well. I played very good level in Australia. I played a lot of matches. I’m with confidence. I’m playing well.

Of course, I will always be a favorite for the moment. I will have that pressure. But it’s a good pressure and I enjoy that kind of pressure.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Ash Barty. What did you make of the way that she won the Australian Open?

PAULA BADOSA: Unbelievable. I followed and I saw the matches. I saw the final. She play so easy. It looks easy, no, what she does. She’s amazing. She’s a very talented player, very humble. She really deserves it.

I mean, she’s the best and she’s showing that she’s the best every tournament. So, yeah, it’s unbelievable.

Q. What kind of goals have you set? Are you the kind of person who sets these smaller goals throughout the season or is it one big goal for the whole year?

PAULA BADOSA: No, maybe it’s more in the moment. Like maybe I have to improve some shots or it depends. Like, maybe I’m playing this opponent, so I played against her, saw something she’s doing very good, I want to do it as well. It’s a little bit small things.

But then the big goal is keep improving. You always have things to improve. Keep enjoying, keep competing. I want to stay here, in the top five, top 10, playing, winning big tournaments, playing in final rounds of tournaments. That’s what I work hard for. That’s my main goal this year.

Q. I saw you’ve done some photo shoots and stuff like that. Your parents have a background in modeling, your boyfriend as well. Do they give you tips on how to do these things?

PAULA BADOSA: I have to be honest. Of course, my priority is tennis and I love to play tennis. But I kind of like these kind of things because I grew up with it.

I kind of do it alone for the moment. I don’t need their tips. But, yeah, I enjoy it as well. I try to enjoy it. Sometimes it’s a little bit stressful because you don’t have time for everything. But I try to schedule my day quite okay. So for the moment it’s nice and I enjoy it.

Q. Is there any specific first magazine cover you’ve done or a first poster or something like that that you were seeing and feeling, Wow, this is quite cool, you were excited to do it?

PAULA BADOSA: I did Elle and Vogue this year, so it was quite nice. Some Spanish magazines that are important. Yeah, it was very exciting for me. We used to buy these kind of magazines at home for my mom or everything. Now I’m doing the photo shoot for them. It’s amazing.

Q. What parts of your game do you want to work on the most at the moment?

PAULA BADOSA: Well, I think I’m a very quite solid baseline player. I try to hit aggressive, but at the same time find that balance to be solid. I think I want to be keep improving on that, of course.

Maybe close more in the net. Of course, improving a little bit more in my serve. I have big serve, but sometimes it’s not as good as I want it to be. It’s small things.

Of course, mentally I have to keep improving. My physical is the same. It’s just small steps forward that I want to keep making.

Q. Every time I ask a player who is one of your friends on tour, you’re always on that list. For you, what does it mean for you to have these kinds of relationships on the tour? Why do you think in the past people used to say you can’t be friends on tour.

PAULA BADOSA: Yes, that’s very nice to hear. For me it’s the same. I really think like that. I mean, this month that I haven’t played, these last 20 days, I’ve been in touch with a lot of players. It’s very nice to see.

I think now players know how to separate things. You can compete on court, but you can have a good relationship. After all, you spend a lot of hours seeing each other during the year, so I think it’s easier and the energy is better.

A few years ago, of course, it was much different. I really don’t know why. Maybe they wanted to start the match in the locker room. It doesn’t make a lot of sense in my opinion. But I think luckily that’s changing.

We know that on court I’m the first one that I’m very competitive, I don’t want her to be my friend there. But when I see my opponent in that case doing the same, I’m like that’s how it has to be. We going to be friends after all or we will have a good relationship. Nothing change.

I think everyone has to focus on we have our own career, doesn’t matter if you lose that tournament, you lost, doesn’t matter who wins that tournament. I think that all kind of things are still improving and we’re getting better on that. I think that’s very nice.

Q. Who do you think is your toughest contender this season?

PAULA BADOSA: What can I say? I think everyone is going to say the same answer. I think it’s Ashleigh Barty. I said the other day to my coach when she won the tournament, I was like, She’s very good, but I want to play against her again. I want to see how it feels.

She makes everything easy. Tough matches, she makes it easy. I’m just watching and watching her. It’s amazing. For me she’s very similar on the male side with Federer. She does everything, like, with a lot of flow and very easy. But, yeah, I think she’s the target for everyone (smiling).

Q. You also have a very interesting draw. You have Simona Halep, the crowd favorite over here Ons Jabeur. Any strategy going into the first round?

PAULA BADOSA: No, I’m practicing okay. I’m getting used to the conditions. The balls are different, as well. We have to adapt yourself.

I don’t know who I’m playing first round, but for sure is going to be a tough one. Quallies, the 35 in the world is playing quallies, so it’s kind of crazy. It’s going to be a tough match.

Of course, if I keep winning, you play against top players. This is what we practice for, to play these kind of matches. It’s going to be exciting. Of course, I will try to put the show on and let people enjoy it as well. That’s important.

Q. How do you pick yourself up for an upset or early exit?

PAULA BADOSA: That’s another goal I have to improve because, of course, I hate to lose. Before maybe it took me two, three days to get back to normal. Thanks to my team as well, they’re doing a very good job.

Of course, sometimes I practice maybe not the way that I wanted or the match didn’t go the way that I wanted. I’m frustrated and I’m sad. I have an amazing team that supports me in that. They say, You’re going to lose every week. We have to start to take, like, the losses a little bit better.

I think it’s one thing that I have to start improving a little bit better because I see a lot of players, including world No. 1, when she loses, it’s okay, nothing happens.

I’m learning a lot from them as well on that because it’s not a big thing, you’re going to lose every week. Barely you win a tournament. In an amazing year you can win three, four tournaments. You have to get used because in tennis you lose a lot.

Q. Regarding Rafa winning the Australian Open…

PAULA BADOSA: They asked me that in Spain, of course. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked. I’m still shocked. It’s like unbelievable. Not even unbelievable that he won from two sets down, because only Rafa can do that. Against who he did it, you know? He’s doing it against the world No. 2.

I have no words really. He’s been an inspiration for me. He’s my idol. Seeing him do this, look, I’m getting emotional (goosebumps). It’s amazing for our country and for the sports world. Not even for that, but, I mean, for life.

After that I said to my coach, I’m not going to complaining on anything, I’m not going to say I’m tired anymore.

It’s amazing. I hope they never retire. I know that’s saying a crazy thing. But that would be perfect. Even Rafa, Federer or Novak, they’re amazing really.

Q. It’s your first time here in Dubai playing. I’m sure the crowds will be excited to see a different kind of player. What expectations have you set for yourself in this tournament and going forward?

PAULA BADOSA: Well, I always have high expectations. I always had. When I go to a tournament, I want to win it or be in the final rounds.

Of course now the situation, it could seem like, Oh, she’s favorite and she can do it. Of course, matches are very tough. There are always surprises in every tournament.

I want to do well here. I like Dubai, as I said. It’s like my second home. Of course I’m very happy and I’m very excited to be here and to see new fans because I have never played here in Dubai.

Well, my expectations? I hope I can be here in a few days saying that I’m playing the final or the semifinals. That’s my goal. But even if it doesn’t go my way, I have next week another tournament.

I will try to give my best and let’s see how it goes.

Q. Is there anything specific about Dubai that keeps bringing you back?

PAULA BADOSA: I think everything. It’s an amazing city, has a lot of good energy. The weather, it’s amazing. People are very friendly, very nice. I feel very comfortable being here. Everything is very easy, facilities. It’s nice. You have beach. You have city. That’s perfect to me.

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