‘The only player who fascinated me was Rafael Nadal’, says young star

There is no peace for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, where his last win was 12 years ago. The former world number 1 went out in the quarter-finals at the hands of Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Spaniard, 35 years old in June, did not manage to beat Roger Federer in the Grand Slam classification. Nadal had taken the first set with confidence, but suddenly suffered a physical decline that led to the young Greek’s comeback. At the press conference, Nadal said he was confident that he could reach 21 Majors in Paris in the spring. Iga Swiatek’s admiration for Rafael Nadal is no secret. During maiden Grand Slam winning run at the 2020 French Open, Swiatek repeatedly asserted she was a huge fan of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

Iga Swiatek on her passion for Rafael Nadal

Now in an interview with German publication Tennis Magazin, the 19-year-old has provided an insight into how her unique style of play was developed, and what impact Rafael Nadal has had on her game. “I didn’t watch tennis too much (tennis) when I was young,” Iga Swiatek said. “The only player who fascinated me was Rafael Nadal. I mainly watched men’s tennis and Rafael Nadal’s matches. I guess I copied my style of play from him,” she added. “I like to hit the balls with a lot of topspin. My first trainer also told me that it was unusual for a girl to play with topspin. He advised me to focus on it because one day it will be a great strength.” The 19-year-old, who is through to the second round of this week’s WTA Adelaide International, claimed that Rafael Nadal’s down-to-earth nature despite his unparalleled success on the court is worthy of respect. “Now that I know him not only as a player but also as a person, I respect him even more as a person,” Iga Swiatek said. “He’s humble and has stayed the same guy he was before winning so many titles. When I was young, I loved the way he looked and the energy he plays with.” One of the most prestigious sports awards, Laureus World Sports Awards, has announced its nominees for the year 2021, and there are some prominent names on the list. Most notably, we have the recently crowned Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka and ATP World No.2 Rafael Nadal in the nominees. Furthermore, NBA legend and reigning NBA champion with Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James is also a nominee for one of the awards.

Nadal is one of the most inspiring athletes in the world, having overcome adversity throughout his long career

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