“They expect me to be as Guga. And it’s not easy to deal with” – Haddad Maia

Being the only Brazilian woman in the world’s top 100, the expectations are rising on Beatriz Haddad Maia, who says managing them is not always easy

Beatriz Haddad Maia at Nottingham in 2022 Beatriz Haddad Maia at Nottingham in 2022 Image Credit: AI/ Reuters/ Panoramic

Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia has shot up the world rankings in 2022. The 26-year-old was ranked 83rd at the time of the Australian Open but after winning back-to-back titles on grass and compiling a 39-15 record this year, she has now jumped to No 24 in the rankings.

On Thursday, she stunned the current world No 1 Iga Swiatek, who has been having an incredible season herself, to reach the last 16 at the Canadian Open. This after beating local favourite and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in the second round

Brazil has only one player in the women’s top 100 – Haddad Maia – and two more in the world’s top 200. Which is why expectations have been rising on Haddad Maia back home, where fans last celebrated the grand success of three-time Grand Slam champion Gustavo Kuerten.

“It’s always tricky because sometimes people expect too much about me. And if I see, like a girl, a tennis player who has the same ranking and the same career, for example, she’s just one more player in America, in Canada, in France, in wherever it is. So sometimes they expect too much about me. They expect me to be as Guga. And it’s not easy to deal with,” Haddad Maia said.

The left-hander says she tries to avoid too much of social media to keep the pressure off her but is proud of what she accomplished as it can help others to dream of achieving the same and more.

“One of the things I try to do is to not use a lot my social media. Because it’s something that I don’t, when I’m living outside of the real life, sometimes I get out from the present and I start to think about the others. And I don’t like and I don’t agree a lot with that. So I have my Instagram, but I try to manage. And I try to have a healthy mentality to just live the present. To enjoy with the people who are around me, my family, my friends. And, for sure it’s special to be Brazilian. And I know there is a lot of nice people cheering for me as well. So it’s very nice to, as a woman, to show on television not only soccer. So I feel more like proud of myself to show people, to show the children that they can do it as well. Than thinking about just me. You know, it’s something, it’s special.

“He’s an inspiration for me” – Haddad Maia on Kuerten

Gustavo Kuerten at Roland-Garros in 2001
Gustavo Kuerten at Roland-Garros in 2001 © Panoramic / Panoramic

Haddad Maia added that she has been inspired by Kuerten, although she has not been in touch with him very often in recent times.

“Guga, now days I don’t talk to him a lot. He’s not like inside of like the pro circuit. I think he has now a daughter and a son. He is living in the south of Brazil. I live in Sao Paulo. But for sure he’s an inspiration for me. He used to practice with Larri Passos who coached me a few years ago as well. So he’s a very nice person for all the Brazilians. He’s an inspiration.”

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