"I had depression and a lot of anxiety; I struggled a lot for a few years" - Paula Badosa opens up on battle with mental health issues

Day Six: The Championships - Wimbledon 2022
Paula Badosa at Wimbledon 2022

Paula Badosa has opened up in-depth about her battle with depression and anxiety, shedding light on the challenges talented young athletes face, which are not visible to the world at large and often neglected. Badosa revealed that she was overwhelmed by the pressure of expectations at a young age and faced an uphill battle with mental health issues.

The Spanish superstar found a way to deal with the stress and has become one of the top players in the world, but it did not come without a phase of real struggle.

The 24-year-old spoke about the same during a chat with the WTA, shedding light on her state of mind during her battle with depression and anxiety. Badosa revealed that she first felt the pressure of expectations after winning the 2015 French Open junior singles title and was compared to Maria Sharapova.

"They were like, I'm the next Maria Sharapova. I was very young and I wasn't prepared to listen to all that," Paula Badosa said, in a video posted on the WTA YouTube page. "It was super big, a lot of expectations and pressure...People watching me wherever I play and expecting me to win every match was too much for me."
"I remember, a few years I had depression and a lot of anxiety. I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues. My head wasn't prepared to listen to all those things and compete," the World No. 4 added.

Experiencing mental health issues at such a young age made it even tougher for Badosa to deal with them. She further explained how her battle with mental health problems affected her physical health as well and she was hit with many injuries. The Spaniard's struggles went on for around two to three years, during which her ranking and on-court performances were deeply impacted.

"I wasn't, maybe, even mature enough to know how to deal with all those emotions in that moment. I struggled a lot for a few years, maybe 2-3 years it was very tough for me. I wasn't even advancing in the rankings and I was losing a lot," Badosa said.
"It was very tough for me to have a routine every day because I was feeling very bad and I was struggling with injuries as well. When you have mental issues, even your body is not feeling well," she continued.

Badosa gradually began to find her best form again around late 2018-early 2019 and wasted no time in rising to the top. But the years in between affected her personal life as well and she further reflected on that aspect.

"Even normal things in life were very tough for me" - Paula Badosa

Paula Badosa at the 2022 US Open
Paula Badosa at the 2022 US Open

During her chat with the WTA, Paula Badosa explained how depression and anxiety affected her daily life, rendering her unable to do normal things like going out with friends or shopping.

"I remember even normal things in life were very tough for me," Badosa said. "The first thing you want to do when you're back home is go out with friends or go to the cinema or do other things, go shopping. I was just staying at home alone, struggling, and dealing with myself, being very negative. I didn't see a way to get out of it."

The 2021 season was in many ways Paula Badosa's 'year of redemption' as she translated her talent into success by winning her first two WTA titles, including her first WTA 1000 title at Indian Wells with a victory against Victoria Azarenka in the final.

The Spaniard also made her top-10 debut last year and achieved a career-high ranking of No. 2 earlier this year.

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