Rafael Nadal news: Iga Swiatek inspired by kindness of Rafa

Pure delight for Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open
There were plenty of fist pumps from Nadal during his match against Karen Khachanov. And it was a tough one for the Spaniard as he dropped a set before winning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

Poland’s Iga Swiatek says she is inspired by the way Rafael Nadal engages with younger players on the tour.

She also mentioned American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, whom she has been lucky enough to share chats with about competing at the highest level.

Swiatek says that these kinds of interactions have inspired her to try to be there for young athletes who might be struggling in one way or another.

“I think it is very important to share the experience you have.

“I’m not saying I’m the right person to do it.

“I’ve only been on the circuit for two or three years, but there are players more experienced than me,” said Swiatek in a recent interview.

“I have messaged other athletes who are the best of their time and I think they have been very supportive and they inspired me.

“I’m talking about Rafael Nadal, for example.

“If I am in his shoes in the future, I want to use my voice to help someone or make it easier for young athletes.

Usually considered a clay court specialist, Swiatek says she is gaining confidence on hard courts following her run to the semifinals of the Australia Open.

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“Australia matches give me a lot of confidence. I’ve always been a clay court player, so my goal was to develop my game on hard courts.

“Every year I can feel that it is getting better, but without a doubt this year the Australian Open was a breakthrough for me.”

“It gives me confidence and that feeling that I can also dominate and go forward and attack, not just stay from the back of the court like I would on clay.

“I have learned a lot about the tactical aspect as well,” Swiatek concluded.

Swiatek faces Swiss WTA Tour veteran Viktorija Golubic in the second round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday having enjoyed a first round bye.