The 26-year-old has rebuilt her career and is thriving like never before. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 11, 2022
A top-100 player in 2017, Beatriz Haddad Maia fell on hard times shortly thereafter, suffering a litany of injuries and a doping suspension that kept her out of the game for several years, until she started to make her way back up the rankings in 2020.
During her time away from the game the Brazilian always believed she had the talent to be a top-100 player, but in 2022 she has surpassed even her wildest expectations. My first goal was, the truth is that the first goal was to be top 100,” she said on Thursday after earning her first win over a reigning world No.1 against Iga Swiatek in Toronto “I believed that I could be top 100 because I was there, I was 58 in the world in 2017.”
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Haddad spoke or the long road back to relevancy, which took her to 1342 in the rankings in August of 2022.
“It's starting from zero, it's much more difficult,” she said. “Because when you go to 25Ks and you play against players who are 1000 in the world, 800 in the world, everything that they made, that they make is good against ex-top-100 player. So the pressure was always on me. And when I start to realize that, Okay, I need to improve that. I need a coach. I need something. I need sponsor. And I was just trying to, ‘Okay, now I need that. I need that. I was trying to organize my life.’”
Haddad Maia said that things took a turn for the better when she teamed up with coach Rafael Paciarone.
“So after a few months I was 400. And then I met again Rafa, my coach. And then it changed a lot. We set goals. We said, ‘Okay, we are here. We want to be top 100. Let's see what we need to do.’ And when we reached the top 100 we said for top 50. And then it was faster than what we expected. We were in the top 40. And then top 30.
The 26-year-old’s success on grass this season has helped her understand her strengths better on court. She is pledging to let herself be aggressive so that she can dictate the terms of matches.
“I think the grass gave me the, like the click that my tennis would need to be aggressive,” he said. “So on grass you don't think a lot because you don't have time. So I was very decided when I was playing. And that makes me feel like stronger. Because I know that I have like great shots, I have good serve, I have good forehand. So if I do what I need to do I can create opportunities.
“And if I expect the opponent or if I just push the ball, I won't have chances.”
These days Haddad Maia, who has claimed her first two titles at Nottingham and Birmingham this year, is targeting the top-20.
“So we don't know the limit. We just set goals. And my next goal is to be top-20. And I will work very hard for that. But I cannot say more. What can I do?”
The Brazilian, currently ranked 24, is projected to make it if she can reach the semifinals in Toronto. But even if she does her newfound confidence will surely take her there soon enough – and likely higher.