Iga Swiatek fulfilled one of her biggest dreams in Paris last week by winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open. What made her experience even more special was the fact that she lifted the trophy in the same year as her idol Rafael Nadal.
Swiatek, a self-confessed Rafael Nadal fan who watched the Spaniard seal a record-extending 13th French Open title on Sunday, has provided insight into why the 20-time Grand Slam champion is her idol.
“I just love Rafa’s style of game and I appreciate his dedication and the way he behaves as a sportsman, and I just really respect him," Swiatek told the Associated Press.
The Pole also recounted an encounter with Nadal during this year's French Open, which left her touched.
“On the first day of the tournament I was warming up playing football with a Slovenian friend and Rafael Nadal’s bodyguard told us to stop, but seeing this he (Rafael Nadal) just waved his hand to show we should continue playing and I appreciate that very much."
Iga Swiatek wants to play mixed doubles with Rafael Nadal
When asked what she plans to do with her winner's cheque of $1.88 million, the Pole said her dream is to "buy a yacht and to swim around Polish lakes", a decision possibly influenced by Nadal, who recently bought his own customized 80 Sunreef Power catamaran.