Coco Gauff explains why she ‘felt compelled’ to send Paula Badosa a message.

Coco Gauff

 

Coco Gauff has revealed she will “always root” for Paula Badosa as she opened up about messaging the Spaniard when she struggled with injury.

 

Coco Gauff and Paula Badosa

Badosa has won consecutive matches for the first time since the Australian Open in January and she took her winning streak to three matches on Saturday with a three-set victory over Diana Shnaider at the Italian Open.

Her reward is a last-16 encounter against third seed Gauff, who saw off Jaqueline Cristian 6-1, 0-6, 6-3.

Badosa currently finds herself at No 126 in the WTA Rankings as she has struggled with injury over the past year with her current position a far cry from the career-high world No 2 she achieved just over two years ago.

The 26-year-old played only 27 matches in 2023 as she struggled with an abductor injury and a stress fracture in her back. Her win-loss record is 9-9 so far this campaign, but there have been encouraging signs in recent weeks.

Badosa previously revealed that Gauff was one of the players who reached out to her while she was battling injury on the sidelines and the 19-year-old shared more detail about her relationship with the Spaniard during a press conference at Foro Italico.

“Paula and I, we aren’t close friends, but we are friendly with each other. I think she’s a nice girl. She’s always been nice. Her team has always been nice [at] practice,” the reigning US Open champion said.

“I think she’s a player that loves to play tennis. Unfortunate with all the injuries she’s had trying to come back. Something else happening…

“I felt compelled to just send her a message. I do that with most players on tour that I know. I’ll send a message if I have their number or if we follow each other on Instagram.

“Definitely I think we’re pretty friendly on tour. We aren’t close friends. We’re definitely in different stages. I feel like that’s a lot of me on tour. I think she’s 25 maybe, so five years’ age gap. We’re never going to be close friends, but I’m definitely friendly with her on tour. I always root for her.

“It’s going to be tough playing her. It is a tough matchup for me. I think she’s getting back to her top form. She was No. 2 in the world, playing well. She’s always dangerous regardless of how the past weeks have gone.”