Haddad Maia: “My dream is to be world No 1 – but also to make a difference in someone’s life”

After winning her first match at the United Cup, the Brazilian reflected on her impact on tennis in South America

Beatriz Haddad Maia in Toronto Beatriz Haddad Maia in Toronto (Zuma/Panoramic)

Beatriz Haddad Maia launched her 2023 season perfectly on Thursday with an easy win over Martina Trevisan in the United Cup (6-2, 6-0). The world No 15 broke her opponent six times to give Brazil the lead against Italy, before Lorenzo Musetti levelled up by dominating Felipe Meligeni Alves (6-3, 6-4).

The 26-year-old has had an incredible 2022 season, rising from No 83 to her current position in the rankings. In Toronto last August, she became the first Brazilian player to reach the final of a WTA 1000. In Canada, by defeating Iga Swiatek, she also became the first Brazilian to beat a world No 1 since 1984.

When asked in a press conference about the impact of her results on tennis in Brazil and South America in general, she explained that she hopes to be an inspiration for younger players – and said that she hopes her progress over the last 12 months has already started to make some changes.

Haddad Maia: I work hard to help people

“My dream is not only to be No 1 in the world, not to only win a Grand Slam, is to make a difference in someone else life. I know my responsibility. Being Brazilian, South American person, I always work as hard as I can to try to make the difference and help the kids and the players who want to be one day the top tennis players as well.”

She also explained: “Having another players, ex-professional players on the same environment to build the mentality, to be more close to the tennis players, this is very important for us as well.

“We don’t have this culture of tennis. I know we need to work very hard in the base to improve this mentality. Maybe in 10 years we’re going to have more players, more juniors and everything.”

But she hopes things are already starting to develop on her continent – even if it remains expensive for the time being.

“I think one of the things that changed is WTA is giving the opportunity with the tournaments, the 125s, so we [are] having [events in] Argentina, Uruguay. We have [WTA] 250 in Bogota, in Colombia.

“Also is not cheap for us. We don’t receive money in euros, in dollars. I think the closest flight is 10 hours by home. This is a challenge for us.”

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