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Spending time with Rafael Nadal has given me ‘extra motivation’: Iga Swiatek

The World No. 1 reflects on her US Open triumph, and being able to play with her 'hero' in a charity match in the buildup to the tournament.

Nadal and Swiatek after their charity match ahead of the US Open for Ukraine. (Photo: Iga Swiatek on Twitter)

Iga Swiatek consolidated her place as the most dominant tennis player of 2022 after winning the US Open. The triumph at Flushing Meadows was her second Grand Slam title of the year, and accompanied four Masters 1000s and one WTA 500 which racked up more than 10,000 ranking points, more than double of anyone else, to make her the undisputed World No. 1.

In an interview with Vogue following her win in New York, the Pole spoke about playing doubles with her ‘hero’ Rafael Nadal at a charity event ahead of the US Open for Ukraine.

Swiatek has spoken before about Nadal being her childhood hero, and the 21-year-old said that spending time and watching Nadal, particularly his comeback win at the Australian Open final, has inspired her.
“Rafa is such a great person on and off the court and he has inspired me so much, especially this season when I watched his final at the Australian Open,” she said. “It really gave me extra motivation and even more grit on court when I really needed that, so I’m grateful to have been able to spend some time around Rafa too.”
Swiatek’s team had organised a training session with Nadal as a birthday gift back at the French Open, but she said playing doubles with him was even more special.
“It was pretty amazing being on the same side of the court playing doubles, and especially for such a great cause—being able to use our voices together to help people is pretty amazing,” the US Open champion said. “It was kind of a moment where I stopped for a little bit and thought about what a long journey it has been to get here, and getting to do that is really a dream come true.”
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Swiatek also spoke about her admiration for Serena Williams, and the American’s ability to balance the many different worlds she has occupied in her time as a tennis player.
“I would say all of the greatest players have this kind of balance (between their on-court and off-court duties),” the World No. 1 said. “But Serena is the one who comes to mind for me, because she played for so many years as a mother, and the business side of her career is so impressive also. Nobody has done it like her in women’s sports, so she’s an example for sure, and I really admire her for that.”
First published on: 15-09-2022 at 16:02 IST
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