Iga Swiatek is a massive Rafael Nadal fan. The 22-year-old Pole grew up watching the Spaniard dominate men’s tennis and was in awe of his endurance, top-spin whipped banana forehands and his ability to never give up on a point.
All these characteristics are present in the newly crowned WTA Finals champion too, and she recently recounted the time when she met her idol. As an introvert, Iga had her reservations but circumvented them by taking an unusual approach to interacting with her favorite player.
Iga Swiatek’s first encounter with Nadal
After turning professional in 2016, Iga Swiatek entered the WTA circuit in 2019 and went on to win her first grand slam the following year at Roland Garros. Around the same time, Rafael Nadal was in his mid-30s and had dominated tennis for over a decade. Thus, their meeting in 2019 was a momentous occasion for the starry-eyed Swiatek.
“I don’t remember what was on that note. But this was not a unique situation! I did this more often as a teenager. I recommend it to all introverts! If I didn’t know someone, I didn’t know what we could talk about,” she told SportoweFakty.
“And [Rafael Nadal] thought I had no problems, that everything was perfect with me. Each of us has our own bubble on tour. We let the most important people in. And its interior looks different than you can read in the media,” she added.
Swiatek has had a spectacular season where she bagged her third French Open title, a WTA Finals title and accomplished the feat of being 85 weeks as world no. 1. She has had to face criticism from the media, though, such as when they directed their ire at her relationship with her psychologist.
Swiatek responds to critics questioning her bond with psychologist
Iga Swiatek reacted harshly to her critics, who admonished her relationship with her psychologist, Daria Abramowicz.
Since partnering up in 2019, Daria has been omnipresent at Swiatek’s matches and the 4-time grand slam champion credits her for making her “smarter”.
However, after the release of Netflix’s show “Breaking Point”, many people questioned Daria’s influence on Swiatek’s day-to-day life.
“I have some doubts whether Daria is definitely not crossing the line,” former Polish player Lech Sidor told sport.interia.pl.
Iga Swiatek was displeased with the unwarranted criticism aimed at her psychologist and hit back with strong words.
“These people know nothing about me or my life. They don’t know how I function and what I struggle with. Our conversations never went beyond ‘hello’,” the World No. 1 said.
“Honestly, sometimes I don’t know what purpose such opinions serve, except that they give sensational media headlines and publicity to whoever expresses them,” she added.
Iga Swiatek also talked about her close bond with Daria and how the 36-year-old sports psychologist would never allow personal problems to affect their work together.
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