“Not Only About the Game”: Iga Swiatek Reveals Real Reason Behind Her Admiration for Rafael Nadal

Published 10/07/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 29: Winners of the 2020 French Open seven months ago, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Iga Swiatek of Poland practice together for 20 minutes on Court 5 ahead of the French Open 2021, Grand Slam tennis tournament at Roland-Garros stadium on May 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)


In the past couple of years, Polish tennis stars Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz have established themselves on their respective tours. But besides the same nationality and rigorously disciplined lifestyle, they also have one another thing in common. They both admire the ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal.

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More importantly, the 20-year-old Swiatek has been a Rafa fan since childhood. Thus, it was a ‘dream come true’ moment for her when she won the French Open women’s singles title last year, and the Spaniard won the men’s singles. This year, the couple even hit the practice courts together ahead of their Roland-Garros title defense.

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Iga Swiatek explains why she admires Rafael Nadal

During the CrossCourt Episode 7, Hubert Hurkcaz and Iga Swiatek discussed discipline on the tennis tours. Then, the reigning Miami Open champion asked Swiatek about the 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

“It’s not only about the game, because, of course, I love his topspin and just how he plays on clay. Clay is also my favorite surface,” Swiatek began. “So, when I was younger, I just you know, wanted to be like him, but I knew it’s, kind of, impossible, because he’s much more stronger, and I also like his attitude and how he behaves off-court.”

PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 29: Winners of the 2020 French Open seven months ago, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Iga Swiatek of Poland practice together for 20 minutes on Court 5 – here with Carlos Moya, coach of Rafael Nadal (center) – ahead of the French Open 2021, Grand Slam tennis tournament at Roland-Garros stadium on May 29, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

Furthermore, Swiatek shared how impressed she got watching the video of Nadal meeting her old fan. “He’s just trying to be a good example for other people,” the Pole explained.

In addition, the current World No.4 opened on meeting his idol in real life. “Rafa is great. When we were in Madrid, Still I was surprised that he said hi to me because I still feel like I’m a junior, I’m new here, and he’s like a superstar. So, that shows that he’s really down to earth,” Swiatek concluded.

Is Nadal playing BNP Paribas Open 2021 at Indian Wells?

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Due to a persistent foot injury, Nadal missed Wimbledon and the US Open 2021. Similarly, he would also not participate in Indian Wells or any other tournament in 2021. However, he is optimistic about coming back on the Tour in 2022.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

On the other side, Swiatek is ready to try for her second WTA 1000 title of the season. Although clay is her favorite surface, Indian Wells’ playing conditions could aid her playing style.

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Let’s see if Swiatek could do wonders in the desert this year. Do you think she can win the tournament in a tough draw?

Watch this story: How Roger Federer Became Roger Federer–the Story of the Swiss Maestro

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Purav Joshi

1242 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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