Iga Swiatek used lessons from watching Rafael Nadal in keeping resolve in Madrid Open final

Monday, 06 May 2024 at 00:00
Iga Swiatek revealed that was inspired by Rafael Nadal while she was playing in the final of the Madrid Open. The Queen of Clay emerged victorious in an epic final lasting over three hours against defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, with a score of 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7), in a rematch of the Madrid 2023 final.
In a closely contested match, the Polish player secured the first set by a narrow margin, but in the second set, Sabalenka raised her level and outperformed her opponent to force a decisive third set. Despite the uncertainty lingering until the third-set tie-break, Swiatek ultimately clinched her 20th career title in the longest final in the history of the WTA Madrid.

Swiatek drew inspiration from Nadal's victory at the 2022 Australian Open.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion made history when he staged an incredible comeback against Daniil Medvedev after trailing by two sets. Nadal found himself on the brink of defeat after dropping the first two sets and facing a 2-3, 0-40 deficit in the third set. However, he mounted a remarkable recovery to secure his 21st Grand Slam title in five hours and 24 minutes, making it the second-longest final in history.
Throughout her career, Swiatek has expressed her admiration for Nadal, and after the final, she acknowledged that she drew inspiration from the Spanish legend to secure victory. The world No. 1 rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third set and saved three match points against the Belarusian.
“For most of the match, I was really trying to loosen up a little bit more. I felt like I can play better because I played better here on my past matches,” Swiatek explained. “Actually, felt like I need to dig through for these two hours and it didn’t really work. I was, like, ‘Oh, my God, am I going to feel a little bit more loose soon?’ It didn’t really happen, and then after two hours, it did. I was surprised by that,” she added.
“Honestly, one thing that came through my mind was actually that I think Rafa had couple of matches like that. Guys have three sets, so they may have a little bit more time on Grand Slams to do that,” Iga Swiatek said. “But I remember exactly when he was playing Medvedev in Australia and it clicked for him. It felt like it. He also struggled for a bit of time with some, he was tense and I think stressed.”
nadal aus open trophy
Nadal won the unforgettable final against Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. It was his second Australian Open and 21st Grand Slam title.
“I’m not sure because I haven’t talked to him. But it felt like that. That kind of gave me hope that maybe it will click, even after two hours.”
The 3-times French Open champion also mentioned the importance of having a 'courageous' approach to face the end of the match: “Before the tiebreaker, I was, like, well, I was, like, okay, she has a match point. Sometimes it happens that I lose my serve, when it’s 5-4 or something like that,” Swiatek said.
“So I was, okay, whatever. It’s not the first time in my life. I’m just going to go for it. I think I decided to play, like, a fast serve, a big one. I wanted to be courageous in that moment.”

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