Paula Badosa Indian Wells WTA 2021

Garbine Muguruza praised as compatriot Paula Badosa’s “favourite” player

Paula Badosa has been in high praise of Garbine Muguruza ahead of the duo competing at this year’s WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico.

World number ten Badosa and two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza have been placed in different groups at the WTA Finals, meaning they could meet later in the tournament.

Depending on how the two Spaniards perform in their respective groups there is the possibility they will meet in either the semi-finals or the final. It is also the first time in 21 years in which two Spanish players will be featuring in the singles tournament.

WTA Finals Debutant Badosa has been placed in the Chichen Itza group alongside World number two Aryna Sabalenka, former French Open champion Iga Swiatek and Maria Sakkari who is enjoying her best year on the WTA Tour.

Meanhwile Muguruza is in the Teotihuacán group with World number three Barbora Krejcikova, World number four Karolina Pliskova and the in-form Anett Kontaveit.

In their opening matches, Indian Wells champion Badosa beat World number two Sabalenka in straight sets 6-4 6-0, whilst Muguruza lost 6-4 2-6 6-7 (6-8) to Pliskova after taking a one set lead.

Multiple competitors at the season-ending event, including Muguruza, have outlined the difficulty of playing at Guadalajara’s 1,500 metre high altitude.

Badosa has stated that she adored Muguruza’s game as a child and the former French Open and Wimbledon champion is her “favourite” player.

“She is a player who has always been a mirror in which to look at myself. She broke all the stereotypes. Such a dynamic and aggressive game was not common in Spanish tennis.

“She is tall, different, my favourite. She has a game that I loved when I was growing up. I have always said that I would like to go where she has arrived.

“I am getting closer to her level and it’s an honour to have two Spanish women here.”

Both Muguruza and Badosa appear thrilled at the opportunity to compete in Mexico and as Spanish-speaking players believe they can connect with the home crowds.

In a press conference prior to the tournament, the Venezuela-born Muguruza said “I do feel we could be the fan favourites just because we have a similar culture. I feel it’s great.

“I feel like this is going to motivate young girls from Spain, from Latin America, that they can relate to and hear us talk, get a more familiar feeling of tennis, not always seeing foreign players. I feel like this time they can be more close to us.

“I never thought that Latin America would hold a Masters final, just because it is very complicated (and there are) many aspects. When Steve (Simon, WTA CEO) said that Guadalajara was an option, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you sure? You mean Guadalajara, Mexico, right, not another Guadalajara?’

“I was so nervous to make it happen. Now I want it even more. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That had a big effect on me,” Muguruza said.

“It’s always great to play the WTA Final, but [it’s] not the same for me playing [in] China to playing Latin America. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.