Two-time women’s Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek is blazing her own path at the top of professional tennis but says that lessons drawn from her idol Rafael Nadal have helped keep her dizzying success in perspective.
After claiming her 35th consecutive match win and sixth consecutive title Saturday against Coco Gauff in Paris, the Pole said that watching how Nadal has faced success and failure had helped to shape her own approach to the highs and lows of life on tour.
“I think the best thing I can learn from him is how he’s cool about what’s going on around him,” Swiatek said. “Because sometimes in our heads, I think many players are overanalysing everything. We treat those finals… [that] if we are gonna lose suddenly, our life is bad.
“I feel like all these great champions, they kind of accept that they may lose. I remember even last year when Rafa lost in semi-finals, I met him coincidentally next day, at breakfast in the hotel, and I said to him that I was crying basically the whole evening because he lost.
“He was, like, ‘Oh, it’s just a tennis match. You win, you lose. It’s normal’. Not everybody can do that and just treat those big moments as another match.”
“When somebody like her is winning the tournaments and is winning with these results, I mean, it’s something special, no?” Nadal said in his pre-tournament presser at Roland Garros.
“It was a big surprise probably the first time, that couple of years ago when she won here. But the way that she’s playing this year looks unstoppable… I’m just happy for her. She’s very spontaneous and natural girl. Is good to have girls like this, good people like her having success.”