THE MODERATOR: Can you talk about the match tonight.
PAULA BADOSA: Yeah, I think it was a pretty tough match. As I said on court, I never won a set against her so I was quite nervous. I really want to do well here, as you know. I’m really excited and happy that I went through the match today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talking about the matchup, it being a tough one for you in the past, what was the difference tonight?
PAULA BADOSA: I think the difference was I played against her one year and a half ago. I think I’ve improved a lot in so many things. Mentally, but physically as well because I think it was a very physical match. I could show the way and how much I improved today after playing against her.
I’m really happy about that and how much I improved the last year.
Q. How does that help the confidence going forward in the tournament?
PAULA BADOSA: A lot. Every match gives you a lot of confidence. Confidence is very tough to get and very easy to lose it.
To be honest, after Dubai and Doha, I wasn’t happy about that. I had tough days after all. For me it’s very important to go match by match. For me, every match gives me confidence again.
Q. I saw WTA posted a clip of you during your photo shoot here. You seemed to really be enjoying it. How much do you enjoy that? Do you feel you have things you can teach other players about being comfortable in that?
PAULA BADOSA: To be honest, I enjoy it if it doesn’t take, like, that much of my day. That I’ve practiced and done everything, then I enjoy it. If it’s too many hours, I get so tired about it.
I think I’m getting all that things pretty well. I know my priorities. But as well I try to enjoy it when I have it because it’s part of our job.
So, yeah, I think as you can see always on court and all parts of me, I try to give it all. That’s what I do there, as well. It’s a job for me as well, and I try to put everything on that.
Q. You had to wait a little bit with the match before you. How much were you watching that? Does a result like that, what Rafa did, give you inspiration, does it give you pressure?
PAULA BADOSA: No, inspiration. He was 5-2 down. Well, with Rafa, every time he’s 5-2 down or something like that, I’m like, No worries, guys, he’s going to win (smiling).
No, it’s an inspiration. I enjoy when I learn about that. I go to court, and as you can see, I was super motivated from point one. That helps because I see players like Rafa doing that, and I want to do the same.
Q. In terms of being born in the U.S., growing up here as a kid, how much does this feel like home when you’re in the U.S.?
PAULA BADOSA: I always said like U.S. is my second home. I said that when I came here last year in Indian Wells. I really feel like the crowd supports me. I feel very comfortable playing here. I really like the fans here.
Yeah, it’s like my second home. I hope Spanish people are not hearing me right now (smiling).
Q. Have you ever considered representing the U.S. or was Spain the obvious choice?
PAULA BADOSA: I considered it when I was very, very young. The thing is that I started playing tennis in Spain, and my whole family is from Spain. I was born here and I lived here, I really have part of my heart here. But still my coaches and everything was there. I considered it. But the thing is I have to live here, and it was too far away from my family.
Q. You had to live here to represent the U.S.?
PAULA BADOSA: Yes.
Q. You have made huge progress in the last couple of years. If you pick just one or two turning points of your career, what would it be?
PAULA BADOSA: Hmm… I said it before in some interviews. One of the, like, turning points in my career, I think it was a little bit last year. From the beginning of the year I think I made a big change, like I said in some interviews, I was very bad mentally before. I was getting very frustrated and I was not fighting sometimes as I had to do. I changed that a lot.
From the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to be very strong on that part. That made me improve on a lot of things because when you get stronger mentally, you have to get stronger physically, and your tennis keeps improving because you’re playing against the big players. I think I improved a lot on that.
If I have to say a match, it was against Ashleigh Barty in clay court in Charleston last year. Mentally in my head, I was thinking if I won the No. 1 in the world, maybe I could win anyone. That helps to give you confidence. You believe it’s possible and you can win every player.
Q. Did you hire a mental coach, psychologist?
PAULA BADOSA: Yeah, I always work with, like, mental coach or psychologist. Of course my team helps me on that as well. I think a good coach is a mental coach as well. I have a lot of support on that. I work a lot because I think it’s very important for this sport.
Q. You said a good coach is a mental coach. What do you mean by that?
PAULA BADOSA: For me a coach has to know you very well, adapts on you very well. There’s a lot of coaches that work with very different players, they try to make them play the same way. That’s not how it works. I have to play different maybe as another player. Mentally maybe I think different as another player. Maybe I need something else.
In that case I’m very lucky now with the coach that I have because he adapts the way that I think and the way I play. He helps me a lot on that.
Q. Sabalenka is out this morning (ranking). Does that give you more confidence to fight for the title or more pressure on your shoulders?
PAULA BADOSA: Doesn’t give me anything. In WTA anything can happen. The level has improved a lot. Yesterday I was watching tennis. I saw an insane match. Then you see the ranking. It was a girl 120. She played like top-10 level. In WTA happens a lot. Sometimes on ATP, as well. So anything can happen.
Every match is very tough. Of course, if Sabalenka lost today, is because for sure the opponent had to do her things very well.
Q. (No microphone.)
PAULA BADOSA: I was watching that match as well. I really like to watch tennis. I’m like with iPod, computer, TV. But I was watching Dart and Svitolina. I think it was a crazy match. You were seeing the players, you weren’t seeing like who is the seeded one. That happens on tennis. That’s why anything can happen. You have to be prepared.
Q. Do you wish it was less unpredictable; now that you’re in the top 10, you win all the time?
PAULA BADOSA: I wish it was like that, where I can have bye until the final. Yes, I wish.
It’s tough. When they play without pressure and nothing to lose, they play super well. You play with pressure and you’re tight, you want to win, you feel like you have to win it. It’s tough as well to be in this position.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports