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Badosa on a learning curve as French Open start looms

PARIS : Paula Badosa will enter the French Open as the third seed and is learning to cope with elevated expectations after her steady rise up the rankings.

The 24-year-old Spaniard arrives in Paris for the claycourt Grand Slam having lost in the third round in Rome and in the second round in Madrid, citing mental fatigue as one of the factors behind those results.

"Of course there were expectations since the beginning of the year, because I'm a top-10 player. So you always have that expectation," Badosa, third in the world rankings, told a news conference on Friday.

"But I think it's a little bit of everything, too many matches, playing at home wasn't easy. Sometimes, as I said, too many things... I was a little bit collapsed, and I wasn't that fresh mentally.

"Of course having expectations and maybe not doing well in that tournament (in Madrid), you feel more pressure and you feel ... the press and the people are like, 'What's happening?'... So of course that doesn't help, either. So, yeah, it's a tough situation that I'm learning."

Badosa took a week off social media in an effort to distance herself from the negative reaction to her recent results.

"I was feeling so much pressure, I lost these past two weeks in early rounds, but they were very tough players. So it could be an option that I lose against these kind of players," she explained.

"I felt that maybe the press, especially at home, was very mean in that case, because what I'm trying to do is just my job well ... I give 100 per cent every day.

"And of course I'm the first one that doesn't want to lose and I'm already mean to myself, so I don't need these kind of extra comments, because of course it doesn't help my confidence, either. I'm not a robot. So these kind of things, I decide not to read anymore."

While she lost to former world number one Simona Halep in the second round in Madrid, her French Open campaign should get off to a smoother start, as she faces French wildcard Fiona Ferro in the first round at Roland Garros on Sunday.

"I hope something changes, to be honest. I felt different already," she said about coming to Paris.

"I felt a little bit more calm already arriving in this tournament, so maybe it's my reset. My team is helping me on that, as well. I like the court, so that helps."

Source: Reuters

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