“Too Overwhelmed to Even Say Hi”: Iga Swiatek Seeks Advice from Rafael Nadal Ahead of French Open 2021

Published 05/29/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Poland’s Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Iga Swiatek can do no wrong these days! Following up on her glorious campaign at last year’s French Open, the 19-year-old Pole picked up maiden Tour title at the Adelaide International before announcing her readiness for Roland-Garros with a blazing run to the championship in Rome, her debut Masters 1000 crown.

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Coming into the tournament in the quest of defending her debut Grand Slam crown last year, Swiatek needs to look no further than her idol Rafael Nadal, who has won the title more than any player past or present, for a tip on how to make it two out of two.

However, seeking a word of advice seems a far cry now as the Pole, by her own admission, is struggling to bring herself to say ‘hi’ to the 13-time Roland-Garros champion.

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Iga Swiatek says she had a “quick, small chat” with Rafael Nadal last year

Speaking to reporters before opening her 2021 campaign against Slovenian Kaja Juvan on Sunday, Swiatek, who broke into the Top-10 in singles on the back of her Rome title, said she is “too overwhelmed” to walk up and exchange pleasantries with Nadal.

“Maybe we’re gonna have a chance to (discuss) that later, but we just had a quick, small chat last year, and yesterday he said ‘hi’ to me. For now, I’m too overwhelmed to even say ‘hi’,” Swiatek said.

The Pole added that she would love nothing more than to be able to sit down with her idol and talk tennis, but that’s wishful thinking as they are too busy chasing their goals.

However, the current World No.9 reaffirmed that she remains a big fan of Nadal and would be delighted to learn from him, whenever possible.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Swiatek says it’s hard to schedule a sit-down with Rafael Nadal now

“I’m a big fan of his, and if I’m gonna have a chance to ask him some stuff and also learn from him, it would be great, but we are both busy, so I know it’s gonna be hard to schedule that,” Swiatek said.

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The Pole, who came to Paris last year as more of an unknown entity in the sport, became the talk of the tournament after blazing past opponents and reaching the Roland-Garros final without dropping a single set.

Among her scalps on her way to the final was 2018 champion Simona Halep.

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DIVE DEEPER

“He Was Different”: Iga Swiatek Opens Up on Admiration for Rafael Nadal and Similarities in Their Game

6 months ago

Swiatek was not only the first from Poland to lift a Grand Slam title but also the youngest since Monica Seles to be the champion at Roland-Garros.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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