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TENNIS

Fun facts about Paula Badosa: The Spanish tennis player is a star on and off the court

The former world No. 2 has made her Wimbledon with a bang and is now set to play alongside her boyfriend, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the doubles side of the tournament.

Update:
The former world No. 2 has made her Wimbledon with a bang and is now set to play alongside her boyfriend, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the doubles side of the tournament.
Jayne Kamin-OnceaUSA TODAY Sports

Having Alison Riske-Amritraj in her opening game at Wimbledon 2023, all eyes are now on the Spaniard. Here’s a look at everything you didn’t know but might have wanted to, including her relationship with fellow tennis star, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Who is Paula Badosa?

Born on November 15, 1997, the 25-year-old Spanish tennis player currently competes on the professional women’s circuit, and as recently as April of last year enjoyed a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world. To date Badosa has three career titles to her name, however, she’s never managed to win a Grand Slam. She’ll obviously be hoping to change that at the Old England Club.

Why is Paula Badosa often compared to Maria Sharapova?

According to her very own account, Badosa grew up idolizing five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova. What’s interesting to note, however, is that she’s often compared to the former No. 1 due to the similarities in their physical appearance, but also because of their playing styles, which many believe have a number of commonalities between them.

To that end, Badosa has even spoken about the pressure of living up to the title of “next Sharapova” and the subsequent effect that it had on both her game and her confidence in the earlier stages of her career. “Everyone thinks that I would be a top 10 player at 18 years,” she said. “But I was not prepared or aware either. Some unreal expectations came up and then I lost. I had to be on the sidelines to improve and be happy. I was depressed and nervous. Then I looked for Xavi Budo, who changed my life.”

Getting to know the man in Paula Badosa’s life: Stefanos Tsitsipas

By now you’ve probably heard that Paula Badosa and Stefanos Tsitsipas are the new power couple of professional tennis. Indeed, the pair even have a joint Instagram account, in which they appear alongside one another in their Spotify profile pictures. Then, there was even an image that was regarded as the official ‘confirmation’ of their relationship. “0 Grand Slams in one photo. But hey, love conquers all!” joked the Greek. Incidentally, both players featured in Netflix’s Break Point documentary, which provided viewers with insight into the personal lives of several players on both the WTA and ATP Tours. Spaniard Badosa played an especially prominent role and was often seen alongside ex-boyfriend Juan Betancourt, who is unlikely to be starring in season two…

Where Tsitsipas himself is concerned, the current World No. 5 passed a major test in the form of Dominic Thiem to clinch a second round spot at Wimbledon on Wednesday following rain delays. With that he will now face former World No. 1 and British fan favorite, Andy Murray. It’s a contest that he knows he won’t get a lot of support in, but given his social media post about the coming match, he doesn’t seem too bothered.

Badosa’s on-court success

Badosa, who despite never having never got beyond a Grand Slam quarter-final reached a career high of number two in the world in April 2022, has won three professional titles and earned more than $5.2 million to date. And she is now making her mark both on and off the court as one-half of tennis’ new power couple.

Package mix-up leads to love for Badosa and Tsitipas

It’s been revealed that the pair’s first meeting came as a result of a wrongly delivered package last year. A brand who sponsor both players were due to send equipment to Badosa but ended up shipping it out to Tsitspias in error. The Greek shared a video about it online at the time, which he reposted recently. “Noooooooo, this is crazy! Universe was calling…” replied the Spaniard.

Badosa was born in the United States

Though the common assumption is that she’s Spanish, Badosa was actually born to Spanish parents in Manhattan, New York City in 1997 but at the age of seven moved to Barcelona in Spain, where she started playing tennis. She won the biggest title of her career so far in the United States, securing her first WTA 1000 title in Indian Wells in October 2021.

Fashion model parents

Both of Badosa’s parents were fashion models and working in New York at the time of her birth. Former boyfriend Betancourt, from Cuba, also models for a number of brands including Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Jean-Paul Gautier.

Badosa’s battles with depression and anxiety

Badosa has spoken at length about her battles with depression and anxiety, partly caused by her struggles to adapt to playing on the senior tennis tour after a successful junior career.

“Everyone thinks that I would be a top 10 player at 18 years. People expecting me to win every match was too much for me. I struggled a lot for 2 or 3 years. I wasn’t advancing in the rankings and I was losing a lot.” In Break Point, she also discussed of living in the social media age and constantly having to deal with negative comments and abuse.

Left-hander playing right handed

While many of us struggle to open the fridge door with our weaker hand, Badosa plays tennis with hers. Naturally left-handed, she has revealed in the past that the only thing she does with her right hand is play tennis.