"Success didn't change Rafael Nadal" - Iga Swiatek reveals how Spaniard "inspired" her following his French Open 1R loss to Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal (L) Iga Swiatek (R)
Rafael Nadal (L) Iga Swiatek (R)

Iga Swiatek sang praises of her idol Rafael Nadal following his 2024 French Open first-round defeat against Alexander Zverev. She lauded his on-court mentality of never giving up while also complimenting his behavior off the court claiming success has not changed him.

Nadal faced reigning Italian Open champion Zverev in a blockbuster first-round clash. The match was played amidst much fanfare with several tennis stars watching the record 14-time French Open champion ply his trade on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal, however, was completely outplayed by the 27-year-old German. Zverev won the match 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3. The Spaniard tried to make a comeback after he broke to lead 4-2 in the second set but he could not capitalize on it and lost the match.

In a press conference, Swiatek, who has called Nadal her idol several times, was asked about what she has learned from the 22-time Grand Slam winner.

"I think he kind of already taught me that always fighting till the end and not giving up is the best way to go. It just increases your chances that you might win," Swiatek said. [3:46 onwards]
"He managed to turn around some matches that were kind of that it seemed impossible to turn around and this basically really inspired me. But also, how he's off the court and he's really humble and really focused on the work and it seems that success didn't change him. So, yeah I just like the person he is, overall," she added.

Iga Swiatek attended Rafael Nadal's French Open 2024 1R match along with several other tennis stars

Rafael Nadal bidding farewell at the 2024 French Open.
Rafael Nadal bidding farewell at the 2024 French Open.

In attendance during Rafael Nadal's potential final French Open match were several notable names. ATP World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, WTA World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz, Alize Cornet, and Caroline Garcia were in the stands of the Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Manchester City and Spain soccer star Rodri, who was involved in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday (May 25), also traveled to Paris to watch his compatriot.

Nadal's wife Maria Francisca Perello was also spotted in the stands along with their son.

Following his defeat at the hands of Alexander Zverev, Nadal refused to provide clarity on his future.

The 37-year-old has previously mentioned that he does not want to retire because he is still enjoying playing tennis and traveling with his family. However, during his post-match speech, he could not confirm whether he would be back in Paris for another Slam.

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

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