Maria Sharapova: Paula Badosa honoured by comparisons to her tennis ‘idol’

Paula Badosa, Maria Sharapova

Paula Badosa’s thrilling Indian Wells victory has sparked more comparisons with five-time Grand Slam champion, Maria Sharapova.

The 23-year-old beat Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in an exhilarating three-set encounter in California to claim her second WTA title and rise to 13th in the world rankings.

Taking to Twitter after the match, Badosa called Azarenka an “inspiration” after the two-time major winner praised her for a “tremendous” performance.

“Thank you Vika,” she said. “You made me better today. Such an inspiration for me since I started this game. Thanks for all you did for this sport.”

However, Azarenka was not Badosa’s only tennis idol growing up. Former world number one Sharapova was another hero for the Spaniard.

ENTER GIVEAWAY

ENTER GIVEAWAY

Speaking about the Russian, Badosa said: “Mentally she is very good, she is a born fighter…I think she is a spectacular player.”

Both players seemingly have similar playing styles as well. Sharapova was renowned for being aggressive from the baseline and having a remarkably complete defensive game –– something which Badosa also prides herself on.

The 23-year-old says she is honoured by comparisons to Sharapova but has dismissed claims she is similar to the former Wimbledon champion.

“Haha, they say it a lot. I wish I could be as amazing as her. But thanks anyway, it’s always a good comparison,” Badosa responded to a fan.

Indeed, the world number 13 has some way to go if she is to replicate the success of her idol. Sharapova won her first major title aged 17, while Badosa is yet to win a Grand Slam. She reached the quarter-finals of this year’s French Open but has never reached further than this stage.

Still, this has been a breakout year for the Spaniard and as she nears the world’s top 10, there is likely to be more comparisons with some of the game’s finest stars.

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