It was only a year ago Camila Osorio felt the negative side of the constant spotlight.
Injury-riddled with inconsistent results, Osorio, wasn’t in a great place. At the time, it was difficult for her to reconcile the reaction she was receiving from her fans.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” she told WTA Insider. “I'm just playing tennis. Sometimes people can be rude."
Osorio took the liberty of deleting her social media apps.
"It was a learning experience for me,” she said.
That was then.
Fast forward a year and you can’t but notice the beaming smile from the 21-year-old Colombian.
On Thursday, Osorio reached the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open for the first time. Playing her first tournament after a one-month injury break, she made good on her main-draw wild card with two strong wins. Her latest was a come-from-behind victory to knock off No.32 seed Marta Kostyuk.
Now ranked No.115, Osorio says she's ready to work her way back toward her career-high ranking of No.33, which she achieved 12 months ago. A junior champion at the US Open in 2019, Osorio became a national sensation back home after winning her first Hologic WTA Tour title, on home soil in Bogota in 2021. She's made two more finals since, at 2021 Tenerife and 2022 Monterrey, where she had match points on Leylah Fernandez.
As she charts her way back up the rankings, Osorio is hoping her injury concerns are behind her. A hip injury was the latest to sideline her this season, but she admits she's been playing through injuries through most of her career.
After an encouraging start to the year, where she made the semifinals in Lyon, Osorio injured her leg in Monterrey. This time, she said enough was enough.
"I didn't do anything for two weeks and then I came back to Barcelona and started training slowly, hitting without moving and getting a lot of treatment for my leg.
"But the most important was to rest and not to force anything because that's what happened the last few years. Every time I got injured, I tried to get back as soon as possible. So that's what I did to recover, and I don't have to struggle anymore. Fingers crossed."
Coco Gauff understands the travails of becoming an overnight sensation. She is two years younger than Osorio, but four years on from her Wimbledon breakthrough as a 15-year-old, Gauff has found it easier to go about her career without the constant frenzy surrounding every result.
"I feel like now I'm playing a little bit looser because I'm a little more under the radar now than I was a couple of years ago," Gauff said. "At least that's what it feels like.
"I'm playing more tournaments and people have more of a chance to see me play, so I feel like they're are used to me a little bit more. Every win was a big deal in the past. It was such a big deal. Now it's like 'Oh, she won, she's supposed to win.'"
Osorio has experienced a similar effect, and it's one she welcomes.
"That's exactly how I feel," Osorio said. "She's been in a final of a Grand Slam and experienced a lot more things. For me, it's more in Colombia where I get the most attention. I still get attention, but it's not crazy. It's much easier. I'm just playing."
That joie de vivre and grateful perspective has been evident throughout her week in Madrid. After defeating Burel 6-4, 6-4 in the first round, Osorio fought and scrapped past Kostyuk to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. On Saturday, she will take on World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka. Osorio said the key to the win was simply being patient and accepting whatever adversity came her way.
After all, it's just a joy to be out there doing what she loves.
"All I was saying to myself was serve and move the legs, serve and move the legs," Osorio said. "What else can I control? The point you just lost, you cannot go back and play it again. I think that helped me.
"I'm extremely happy and super thankful for being here. I was struggling a lot and I'm so happy to be healthy. I'm enjoying every second. I have no pressure at all. I'm just having fun."