Iga Swiatek hoping to emulate Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after surviving huge scare

Iga Swiatek Australian Open 2024

Iga Swiatek has revealed she is trying to “take an example” from Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal after making a remarkable comeback to beat Danielle Collins at the 2024 Australian Open. 

The four-time major champion highlighted how Djokovic and Nadal have improved during Grand Slam runs after coming through difficult matches.

The world No 1 recovered from the brink to overcome 2022 Australian Open runner-up Collins 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Melbourne Grand Slam on Thursday.

Swiatek came from 1-3 down to take a tight opening set and fell 1-5 behind in the second set, before Collins took her sixth set point to level the contest.

World No 62 Collins then surged to a 4-1, double break lead in the deciding set, before Swiatek broke three times in a run of five straight games to seal an incredible turnaround.

The 22-year-old Pole crucially saved three break points in a row at 2-4, 0-40 to hold and deny Collins the chance to serve for the match.

Swiatek had won her previous three encounters with Collins, but suffered a 4-6, 1-6 defeat to the 30-year-old American in the 2022 Australian Open semi-finals.

Following her victory, Swiatek discussed the challenge of making improvements during tournaments given the limited time on the practice court.

“Well, I don’t know if I can improve. I mean, I always try, but it’s hard to know if you can actually improve something only like one hour of practice I’m going to have tomorrow. Honestly, I feel like it’s all about momentum. She played really well,” the world No 1 said.

“I mean, it’s not like I’m kind of just explaining why I lost the set and I was in trouble. I felt like she played really well. I did everything I could. I would say the same if I would lose. For the next match, I’m just going to kind of start from the beginning. It’s another round and, yeah, fight no matter what.”

The three-time French Open champion added that she will try to take inspiration from how Djokovic and Nadal come through after not having their best level during events.

“I will always try [to make improvements]. Actually I’m usually wanting to try even too much. The team is like, Keep it easy, keep it cool. If you’re going to kind of just try and try, these things may improve,” she continued.

“I think, like any champion would say to you, basically most of the times they haven’t felt comfortable throughout the whole two weeks of the Grand Slam. We’ve seen many tournaments where, I mean, Novak, I haven’t seen him play, but it seemed like he’s not winning too easily.

“He’s also that kind of person that probably improves during the tournament, is able to do that. I also saw Rafa on some tournaments doing that. I’m just trying to take an example from that and not panic so early.

“I also remember I also struggled couple of times during Grand Slams on the first rounds, then I won Roland Garros like that, I won US Open like that. Yeah, but I always try to improve it. As I said, during one-hour practice, there’s not much you can improve. It’s probably just in your head, yeah.”

Collins, a former world No 7 and two-time WTA titlist, revealed that this would be the final season of her career after the match.

“At this point, you know, I’m kind of at the end of my career and they don’t sting quite as much, to be honest,” the 30-year-old said in her press conference.

“I feel like I have kind of gotten to the point where obviously they matter and, you know, my career means a lot to me, but the end of the day, you know, you either win or you lose, and that’s all there is to it.

“Yeah, this is going to be my last season, actually, competing. I don’t really know exactly when, but this will be my last season and I’m really looking forward to that.”

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