Iga Swiatek has spoken highly of Martina Navratilova, whom she considers one of her idols.
Navratilova, a former Czech-American player, is widely considered as one of the legends of the sport. She has won an incredible 59 Major titles (the most in the Open Era) — 18 in singles, 31 in women's doubles, and 10 in mixed doubles.
She is the only player in the sport's history to have held the top spot in both singles and doubles world rankings for over 200 weeks. She also holds the Open Era records for titles won in singles (167) and doubles (177).
Navratilova has inspired many over the years, with former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek being one of them. The Pole praised the 66-year-old for her knowledge of the sport and her achievements as a player.
“I had the chance to talk to Martina Navratilova about technique," Swiatek said (via newsroom.porsche.com). "Her knowledge and everything she has achieved in the sport is indescribable."
Another player that Swiatek has idolized while growing up is Rafael Nadal. She said that the Spaniard's fighting spirit and his humble nature were what she admired the most.
“When I played my first junior Grand Slam at the age of 15, it became clear that Rafael Nadal is one of my heroes,” Swiatek said.
“He never gives up, he represents the right values and he’s kept his feet on the ground. He’s still the same even though he’s so successful. That’s what I particularly like about him,” she added.
“The truth is that there was little time to train” - Iga Swiatek on her packed 2023 season
Iga Swiatek had an incredible time on the WTA tour in 2022, winning eight titles, including two Majors - the French Open and the US Open.
This year, however, she failed to live up to her lofty standards. She could defend only three of her titles – the Qatar Open, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, and the French Open — apart from adding the Poland Open to her trophy cabinet.
Swiatek withdrew from the Miami Open due to injury. She failed to go the distance in Indian Wells and Rome, exiting the tournaments after falling to Elena Rybakina in the semifinals and the quarterfinals respectively.
When looking back at her 2023 campaign, in which the World No. 2 played a tour-leading 56 matches, Swiatek said that having a tight schedule has affected her output.
“The truth is that there was little time to train," Iga Swiatek said (via Eurosport). "This is the second season in which I have played the most games among all the girls and I suffered two injuries. I think that, if I were not the leader of the world ranking and I was 22 years old, I would have much more time to develop as an athlete."
Iga Swiatek has vowed to plan her tennis calendar much better next year, admitting that she needs breaks between events to play at her best.
“Next season we will definitely think about the calendar," she added. "I'm the type of player who clearly needs a full week or two to improve my technique. Because it can always happen that the technique fails, you start to panic and think in your head what to do to play better."
The 22-year-old is next scheduled to take part in the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan, which gets underway on September 25.