Iga Swiatek turned 20 on Monday, but she received a considerable gift a couple of days ago. The grant was when she finally fulfilled her long-time dream of returning the balls to her childhood idol, none other than Rafael Nadal.
Polish and Spaniard arrived in Paris this year in good shape. Especially a fortnight ago, both of them claimed titles at the Italian Open. However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion went one step ahead of the rest of the contestants to make his fellow player’s dream true.
“Gave Me a Lot of Positive Energy”: Iga Swiatek After Training With Nadal
No.3 seed Rafael Nadal will face Australian Alexei Popyrin in the first round of the French Open 2021. At the same time, No.8 seed Iga Swiatek has booked her second-round spot after a straight-sets (6-0, 7-5) victory over Slovenian Kaja Juvan.
When asked about practising with Nadal in the post-match interview, Swiatek expressed, “It was great. It wasn’t a surprise because I had to prepare. Write some small topics, not to have an awkward silence. But Rafa is really, really great. He’s a really nice guy. Even though I am pretty introverted, it was enjoyable for me.”
Spaniard is best known for his ruthless forehand and topspin in the men’s game. According to a tennis researcher, Nadal’s topspin average speed is 3200 revolutions per minute.
Polish continued, “Obviously, I got to feel his forehand, which was great, and his topspin. That was a whole new experience for me. It gave me a lot of positive energy. It was really a huge inspiration for me.”
“It’s really nice to see such a champion being normal off the court, and also telling jokes and being a little bit sarcastic. It’s really, really nice. He’s the guy that everybody can take something for themselves,” she added.
Iga Swiatek will lock horns with Swedish Rebecca Peterson for a third-round place on the Parisian clay.