Iga Swiatek picks her favorite for Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev French Open 1R clash: "It's a tough draw for Rafa"

Iga Swiatek picks her favorite for French Open R1. PHOTO: LEFT/INSTAGRAM, RIGHT/GETTY
Iga Swiatek picks her favorite for French Open R1. PHOTO: LEFT/INSTAGRAM, RIGHT/GETTY

Iga Swiatek said she will be rooting for Rafael Nadal over Alexander Zverev in their first-round match at the 2024 French Open. Swiatek, a huge fan of the Spaniard, also apologized to the German for picking Nadal.

All eyes are on the Pole, who is looking to complete the three-peat at the Paris Major this year. She has been in blistering form coming into the tournament capturing two WTA 1000 titles at the European claycourt swing - Madrid and Rome.

A dominant force on clay, Iga Swiatek has always expressed her love for Rafael Nadal, who is widely regarded as the greatest clay court player of all time. During her pre-tournament press conference, Swiatek was asked what she thought about the opening-round match between Nadal and Alexander Zverev.

The 22-year-old said that she was excited for the match but was going to watch it from the eyes of a fan rather than an analyst's.

"I don't know, I’m not an expert. We'll see, I'm going to watch it more o, from a fan perspective than, you know, to analyze," Swiatek said.

The Pole said that though the Spaniard has been dealt with a tough draw, she will be cheering him on, regardless.

"So, I just hope it's going to be entertaining and, and for sure it's a tough draw for Rafa, but I hope, I mean, I'm going to be kind of rooting for him."

After her comments, Iga Swiatek apologized to Zverev for picking the Spaniard over him.

"Sorry. Sorry, Alex. And we'll see. Yeah.”

"I'm Rafael Nadal's fan more because of how he behaves" - Iga Swiatek

Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek
Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek

After her win against Madison Keys in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open, Iga Swiatek was asked what parts of Rafael Nadal's game she has tried to incorporate in hers to which the Pole said that she has never focused on the skill aspect of things since their genders differed.

"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."

However, she did mention that she focused on the Spaniard's shot-making process and did see some similarities in their styles.

"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."

Swiatek finally mentioned that the main reason she looked up to Nadal is because of the way the Spaniard behaved.

"Overall I'm his fan more because of how he behaves. This is something that I try to look up to more."

Top seed Iga Swiatek will begin her title defense at Roland Garros against a qualifier or lucky loser.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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