Iga Swiatek highlights her ‘similarities’ with Rafael Nadal and reveals reason she is his fan

Ewan West
Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal
Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal

Iga Swiatek believes she has “many similarities” with Rafael Nadal, but has explained she does not focus on copying the legendary Spaniard’s game. 

The four-time Grand Slam champion revealed she is a fan of Nadal “more because of how he behaves” and that this is the quality in the tennis great she tries “to look up to more”.

Swiatek has named Nadal as her tennis idol and recently divulged she was inspired by some of his great triumphs during her epic Madrid Open final win against Aryna Sabalenka.

“For most of the match, I was really trying to loosen up a little bit more. I felt like I can play better because I played better here on my past matches,” Swiatek explained.

“Actually, felt like I need to dig through for these two hours and it didn’t really work. I was, like, ‘Oh, my God, am I going to feel a little bit more loose soon?’ It didn’t really happen, and then after two hours, it did. I was surprised by that.

“Honestly, one thing that came through my mind was actually that I think Rafa had couple of matches like that. Guys have three sets, so they may have a little bit more time on Grand Slams to do that.

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek’s perfect response to bizarre question about Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

“But I remember exactly when he was playing Medvedev in Australia and it clicked for him. It felt like it. He also struggled for a bit of time with some, he was tense and I think stressed.

“I’m not sure because I haven’t talked to him. But it felt like that. That kind of gave me hope that maybe it will click, even after two hours.”

The world No 1 is currently in action at the Italian Open, where she will face third-ranked Coco Gauff in the semi-finals on Thursday. The 22-year-old Pole is seeking her third title at the WTA 1000 tournament after victories in 2021 and 2022.

After crushing Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3 in the quarter-finals in Rome, Swiatek was asked if there were parts of Nadal’s game she has looked to incorporate into her own.

“Well, it’s not like I’m really focusing on that because he’s a guy, he has different powers, different strengths. I’m never going to be able to spin the ball the way he spins it,” said the three-time French Open champion in her press conference.

“It’s good to look at his forehand, for example, as an example, how he’s using this spin to make a difference. Also his backhand is pretty flat. I think we have many similarities in that case.

“Overall, I’m his fan more because of how he behaves. This is something that I try to look up to more.”

READ MORE: The 9 players who have defeated Iga Swiatek on clay: Featuring a 45-minute demolition by a former world No 1