Paula Badosa: I wouldn’t repeat hard quarantine experience

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Paula Badosa's hard quarantine nightmare came to an end on Day 2 of the Australian Open as the Spaniard fell in three sets to Liudmila Samsonova.

Of all the 72 players that were sent into hard quarantine upon arrival in Melbourne due to positive Covid-19 test results on their flights, Spain’s Paula Badosa had it the worst. Her hard lockdown was extended by a week when she herself tested positive for Covid-19 a week into quarantine. She moved to the city’s health hotel, and was finally released after a brutal stay that amounted to 21 days, with the Australian Open just four days away.

Australian Open: Draws | Day 2 Order of Play 

To this day Badosa doesn’t know how she caught the virus.

“I have no idea,” she told reporters after her 6-7(4), 7-6(4) 7-5 loss to Liudmila Samsonova on Day 2. “I don’t know if it was in the plane, maybe before in the bubble in Abu Dhabi in the WTA. I have no idea where it was.”

Badosa was also one of the more vocal players in quarantine, as she voiced her frustration with Tennis Australia and the Victorian government, saying that there was not enough transparency in the protocols laid out for players prior to their departure for Melbourne.

But she’s tired of talking about it at this point.

“I’m a little bit sorry, honestly,” she said. “Honestly, I’m a little bit tired of talking about the same. It’s been tough for me. I know people in Australia didn’t understand what I was trying to explain at the beginning. I don’t know. I’m tired, a little bit sorry. … We didn’t understand that it was going to be like that, but it was like that. I had to accept it.”

The public in Australia has experienced its own form of hardship, and they’ve endured multiple lockdowns across the country, including one that lasted 111 days. Badosa’s original quotes rubbed Australian citizens the wrong way and many let it be known that they didn’t care for her remarks and what they perceived to be a sense of entitlement by professional tennis players that lacked the ability to read the room and appreciate what the Australian people have been going through to keep the pandemic at bay.

Safe to say that reading the criticism while being sick in hard quarantine with Covid was not an ideal preparation for the 2021 Australian Open for Badosa. After her loss on Tuesday in Melbourne, she talked about how the whole experience took a toll on her.

“Emotionally I have to be honest, it was tough reading all those kind of things,” she said. “I think people didn’t understand me, what I wanted to explain. I was trying, like, to find mentally they’re not understanding what I’m explaining. I know the rules are the rules. But the conditions, they weren’t for a Grand Slam, for an athlete, you know? It was tough mentally to get through all that. In Australia, they were being very tough on me.”

Would she do it all over again for the chance to play another Grand Slam? That was the question one reporter wanted answered.

“No, no, because I lost a lot my level,” Badosa said. “I’m sad for the match, but I’m even more sad because I lost the level that I’ve been working so hard these two months in pre-season. So, no, I wouldn’t repeat it.”

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