Paula Badosa's sad admission proves true in Madrid Masters failure

Badosa might never be the same player she was.
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One has to be empathetic of Paula Badosa's bravery. She knows she cannot, and maybe never again, compete as well as she did almost exactly two years ago. That is when she reached a career-high of No. 2 on the WTA tour. She has not won a Grand Slam event, but she has three titles to her name. Those seem like old days now.

Still, Badosa keeps playing and fighting through injuries and bouncing out relatively early in almost every event. In the meantime, she has to watch her boyfriend, Stefanos Tsitsipas, improve his game and get back to winning tournaments. We can be sure that Badosa is happy for Tsitsipas, but as a competitor, she also has to feel a little jealous.

At the Madrid Masters this week, Badosa lost in the first round to Jessica Bouzas Maneiro in three sets. Paula Badosa is the more well-known name of the two players, but she was the lower-ranked ranked as well. Badosa now sits outside the top 100 while Bouzas Maneiro is ranked 93. The match began well for Badosa as even though the Spaniard lost the first two games, she rebounded to win the next six to take the first set 6-2.

Paula Badosa makes a concerning admission about her health

That is when, as seems to always happen to her now, her body just wouldn't let her keep playing at a high level. She lost the first five games of the second set and could never really recover.

And recovery is something Badosa feels like might never happen in terms of her health. The Spaniard admitted prior to the Madrid Masters that she continues to deal with a chronic back issue with little hope of ever getting much better. People can live with back issues, of course, even though there is constant pain. A professional tennis player trying to work through a chronic back issue is nearly impossible.

In a pre-tournament press conference, Badosa said, "The back injury I have is complicated and the doctors already told me that I would always have to deal with it, because it is chronic. Feeling zero pain on the court is going to be very difficult for me, but I am handling it in the best possible way and if I manage to compete, it is already a triumph for me."

The question is how much longer she will want to force her way onto the court. Playing consistently is the only way to improve one's form and Badosa does not seem to be able to stay healthy enough to expect to play in many tournaments consecutively. She has said she might only play for a few more years if her back lets her do even that.

The shame is that she is a fun player to watch, whether that be in singles or in doubles with Tsitsipas. Maybe her back will hold up well enough for her to get back to playing at a high level. That's the dream anyway.

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