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Something never seen before in tennis: a shut up tattoo – interview with Jessica Bouzas

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The way of celebrating victory by shutting up the haters might soon reach new limits in tennis.

On the inside of her left index finger, Jessica Bouzas, WTA’s most promising Spaniard, has the onomatopoeia “SHH” tattooed. She says that when she achieves something big she will celebrate by holding the finger against her lips as a special dedication.

“It’s like a personal symbol when people don’t trust you, those who think you won’t make it”, the 20 year old said to CLAY.

A celebration similar to Taylor Fritz’s in 2023 French Open against the noisy Parisian crowd; or María Sakkari’s after defeating Sofía Kenin in Abu Dhabi; or like Daniil Medvedev’s in the last Paris Bercy, before showing the middle finger to the people, despite he was only “checking” his nails. So many times done by Djokovic in different stadiums around the world, also.

Like many players in history, yes, but with a detail that makes it unique: showing the inked letters of silence.

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“The ones who try to shut you down and walk out of your life. Is about silencing all those kind of people up, isn’t it? Always with respect”, Bouzas explained to CLAY. And she makes the gesture. And shows the tattoo. And she laughs. Like she does through all the interview where she remembers Nadal and Muguruza, her idols.

Interview with Jessica Bouzas

– In January 2022 you were 350th in the ranking; you close 2023 on the verge of the top 150. Where will we see you in 2024?

– The goal is the top 100, and if I go better, great. If not, nothing will happen, because I am very young and there is a lot of time ahead.

– What do you want to achieve in tennis? What do you think would make you feel complete when you finish your career?

– To feel fulfilled with myself. That I have given everything, that I have left everything on the court and that I have reached my limit. I want to know my limit. If I achieve that and I don’t have any regrets after my career, I will be satisfied.

Jessica Bouzas
Jessica Bouzas en Santiago de Chile, durante su participación en el torneo WTA  // @revesfotografico

– You competed in the United Cup 2023 with Rafael Nadal and Paula Badosa as partners. How was that week?

– I remember it as one of the most beautiful matches of my career. I was able to play the singles and it was something incredible, to be able to have Rafa on the bench and to have seen him up close in his last matches before his injury, it was a tremendous luck. I learned about men’s tennis. I had already sparred in the Billie Jean King Cup two years ago, and this time with the United Cup training with the boys it brought new things to my tennis.

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– Having Nadal applauding you while you played must have been special. Are you a fan?

– Every Spaniard is a Rafa fan! And anyone is, even if they’re not Spanish. Everything he has done is admirable.

– Did he leave you any advice that has stuck with you?

– His career stands out a lot because of all the grit and effort he’s always put in. That predominates a lot in his message, in the ideology he transmits to others. That we keep learning, that we listen a lot. He says he keeps learning with the age and experience he has. Rafa Nadal tells you that he is still learning from his coaches when for some people like me he is the king of tennis, it is something super curious. He knows so much and has done so much, and yet he says he’s still learning from the people around him. That stuck with me.

– Did he learn anything from you?

– (laughs) I don’t know. If he learned he didn’t tell me. At that time I was still 20 years old. I don’t know what he might have learned from me.

– What was it like to share with Badosa?

– It was really cool. Watching her play was also something of pure learning. To be able to listen and watch one of the best Spanish tennis players is really something to absorb a lot.

Team Spain in United Cup 2023 in Sydney: Vega, Carreño, Jessica Bouzas, Badosa, Párrizas, Nadal and López // UNITED CUP

– You are almost the same age as Carlos Alcaraz, how do you get along?

– Carlos is amazing, a super nice guy, we get along great. He’s a ten out of ten, very humble. He is the same person regardless of his ranking. We’ve known each other since we were very young, players of this generation have a very special bond.

– So maybe a mixed doubles with him would motivate you?

– I love mixed doubles. There is another guy of my age, Pablo Llamas, with whom we always say it, because we train together, that playing mixed doubles in the Grand Slams is a goal to achieve. Or in the Olympic Games, it would be like a dream.

– And off the court, where are your interests?

– I like to ride horses. Since I was a little girl I like them a lot, but I have just started to ride. I don’t do it much because it’s dangerous, but it disconnects me a lot, I love it. I also like reading a lot, and since I live in Madrid, which is a city where everything is always happening, I go to the movies, to musicals. With what I travel I also think I value even more the time with family and friends. I like to do everything.

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– Do you always pack books in your luggage to take to tournaments?

– Yes, right now I brought “Atomic Habits”, which is more of a psychological book. It was recommended to me by (Alejandro) Davidovich and many other people. It was very famous in Spain and I like it a lot. I read fantasy, romance… whatever makes me escape reality.

– Do you take care of your mental health?

– I haven’t given it too much importance during my life, but this year I’ve been more concerned. Not like physical or tennis training, but this year has been different. I have given it more attention and priority.

– You wanted to be a football player, don’t you regret not choosing a team sport when tennis is so lonely?

– Yes! I really liked football, but I don’t regret it at all. I am a Barcelona fan. When I lived with my parents in Galicia I had my bed quilt, chair, pencil case and school bag, all Barça. I was crazy about football. I gave it up and now I’m a tennis nerd.

– A Galician fan of a team from Catalonia!

– You can be the team you want, of course. Freedom (laughs).

Jessica Bouzas during Chile’s WTA 125 // @revesfotografico

– You have said that Garbiñe Muguruza paralyzes you, does she still drives you crazy?

– I have it more normalized, but it is true that when I was a little girl in the club where I trained they told me that I looked a lot like Garbiñe, that my strokes were similar. It was getting into me that comparison little by little. Yes it is true that one of the things that makes me more angry is not having been able to train with her or see her up close competing at her best. It makes me angry not to have enjoyed her. I’m happy to train with her when she comes back or when she feels like it.

– Are you looking forward to her return?

– I would love to. I think she has to come back and finish at the top, or whatever she wants. She still has a little bit left in tennis that she can prove.

– You smile a lot more than the average tennis player.

– I have my moments, but if you don’t see me smiling it’s kind of weird.

– Do you think your game is as cheerful as your personality?

– It’s very dynamic, I can do a little bit of everything. I have the facility to change the defense for the attack, make drop shots, go up to the volley. Controlling distances, it’s similar to Alcaraz’s because it’s showy, because it’s based on my cheerful personality off the court.


If you liked this interview with Jessica Bouzas, don’t miss, in this link to our site, many other interviews to the great protagonists of tennis.

COVER PHOTO: SEBASTIÁN VARELA

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