Iga Swiatek: ‘Rafael Nadal is my idol, I have his signed T-shirt’

Competing in her seventh Major tournament, the 19-year-old Pole Iga Swiatek stunned the tennis world and claimed the first WTA title at Roland Garros last October. Iga defeated the Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in the title match, wrapping up the tournament without losing a set to become the first Polish Major champion. Iga dropped 23 games in the opening six encounters for one of the most remarkable results in Paris in the Open era, including a dominant 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Simona Halep in under 70 minutes! Presenting 32 breaks, Iga grabbed 70% of the return games before the final and kept that level against Kenin to become the first champion without losing a set in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007.

Iga Swiatek honored Rafael Nadal.

Iga cracked the top-20 thanks to those points and became the youngest Roland Garros champion since Monica Seles in 1992 and the first teenager to lift the crown in Paris since Iva Majoli in 1997! During the fortnight, Swiatek didn’t hide her support towards her favorite player and the Roland Garros legend Rafael Nadal, wishing him to win the title, which Rafa did in style to join Iga on the podium. Recently, the Pole praised the Spaniard again, saying he is her idol and that she has his signed T-shirt hanging on her wall at home. 

“I like Rafa Nadal; I have his T-shirt with his signature on my wall and the calendar with Rafa. He is my idol. He’s humble and has stayed the same guy he was before winning so many titles. I didn’t watch tennis that much when I was younger. The only player who fascinated me was Rafael Nadal. I guess I copied my style of play from him. 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 as one day it will be a great strength. Since I now know Rafa as a player and as a person, I respect him even more. 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 looks and the energy he plays with,” Iga Swiatek said.

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