Nadia Podoroska, with Clarín: her historic Roland Garros, fear of winning and a premonitory anecdote with her mental coach

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From Spain, the Rosario who was a semifinalist in Paris and reached the top 50 of world tennis talks about her desire to be the best in the world and about the repercussions of the dream tournament.

In three weeks, Nadia Podoroska rose 83 places in the ranking of world tennis. She became the first player in history to advance from qualifying to the Roland Garros semi-finals. It was the surprise at the French Open and in Argentina it appeared on the front page of the newspapers.

Although the reality that is presented to her was unknown until last week, Rosario assures that she has “no fear.” He does it from Alicante, the place where he chose to live two years ago and thus grow as a tennis player, a week after being a semifinalist in Paris, something that only four other Argentines achieved in history.

-How much did the tour prior to Roland Garros, with losses in Palermo and Prague and the title in Saint Malo, influence? How did you get there?

-I had been feeling very good on the court. The pandemic was an important moment, because we were able to train a lot with my team and improve many things. In tennis it is not so common to have so much time to train and that did me very well. It made me grow as a player. And in the previous tournaments I felt competing well. The defeats were because my rivals were superior. And defeats help to understand and realize what you have to improve. I think it was quite a process. Obviously, it gave me a lot of confidence to win that title at Saint Malo and I arrived at Roland Garros very well prepared.

-How did you work on the mental aspect at every step you took at Roland Garros? Did you read what was said in Argentina, where your exposure was higher as the matches went by?

-I stayed away from what social networks and the media were to be focused on the tournament and what I had to continue doing. Although I followed some publications on my networks a bit, I tried not to read comments or messages to keep my head there.

-Did you experience different sensations when you passed the qualy, when did you beat Elina Svitolina (5th WTA) or when did you go to the semifinals?

-It was a bit different, because they were all new experiences for me: playing in a stadium (Philippe-Chatrier) against a top 10 or beating like I beat Yulia Putintseva, who is 27th in the ranking. Taking those small steps pushed me further and gave me more confidence. Each game was very important and I had to do different things. In some I was more nervous, in others I played amazingly. Every game I think was special.

-Did you watch the game with Svitolina many times?

– (Laughs) Several, several … The night before I really like to visualize. I always have my 20 minute viewing.

-What did you think when Pedro Merani, you coach Mentally, he told you a few months ago to start visualizing playing against the top, preparing the strategies for games that perhaps you were never going to play?

-That was very funny, because Pedro said that he had to visualize, think about the strategy to play with several players and I thought: “Good, but let’s do it with others, with players with whom I am going to play, since we are viewing matches”. And not two months passed and I was playing against them.

-Has something changed in your game since you watched?

-I do not know if in the game, but the mental and emotional preparation more than anything. Sometimes you think that in these kinds of situations you don’t know how the body and mind are going to respond and with all that visualization and preparation work one is much more prepared.

-In the press conference prior to this note you said that “having expectations in this sport is not good”. Is that why you declared that you came to Roland Garros “without expectations of qualifying, just playing”?

-At least that’s what I think from my experience. Perhaps other players or players think differently. It’s what works for me. Putting a lot of expectation on it makes you anxious or nervous. I like more to go day by day and trying to do my best in each game, in each training session, in each practice.

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