Rafael Nadal has found yet another admirer from the WTA circuit in Iga Swiatek, who came to the fore after her surprise win at the French Open in Roland Garros in 2020.
The 19-year-old Polish star, who stunned then world No.1 Simona Halep on her way to the title on the fabled clay courts at Roland Garros, was speaking on an Instagram live chat with American skier Mikaela Shiffrin when she heaped praise on the Spanish 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion.
Swiatek revealed that she did not have any tennis idols growing up as she refused to watch the sport and kept her attention on school and practice. But the Polish teenager admitted that she really likes Nadal and even has his signed t-shirt hanging on her wall.
"In tennis, I didn't really even have any idol when I was younger because I didn't really watch tennis. I kind of just went to school and for practice," Swiatek said, as quoted on Tennis Head.
"I was kind of, that's too much of tennis for me and it's enough. But, I really like Rafa Nadal, he's the best," she added. "Actually, there's a T-shirt with his signature on my wall. I really like Rafa, not only on court but also off-court because he seems like a really humble guy. Success didn't change him."
"I mean I'm not going to play like the same tennis (as Nadal) because he's a man, but I really like his style of game, and just watching him. It's like, if I would watch a match, I would watch Rafa."
Nadal is currently playing in his second tournament of the year at the Monte Carlo Masters, while Swiatek's last appearance was at the WTA Miami Open where she succumbed in the third round.
The 2021 French Open was pushed back to May 30 owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Both players look to be on course to defend their titles at Roland Garros.