At the peace event for Ukraine, Iga Swiatek had the opportunity to play with her idol, Rafael Nadal. “It was an extraordinary and unique experience. Said the number one in the press conference prior to the US Open-Rafa is fantastic, when she was a child she would never have imagined playing alongside her and forming a team together.
The whole event was wonderful, I’m happy to have participated and to have helped the cause.” This Us Open is also the last tournament of someone who has dominated the women’s circuit for years: Serena Williams.
“For me it is still surreal when I see her, I feel like a girl by her side – said her Polish colleague – I never felt that she could be a tennis player because I saw her much stronger. Mentally, she is a specialist in intimidating you, as if she were the number one.”
After the retirement of Ash Barty, the Polish tennis player has become the number one in the world and a dominant player on the circuit: winner of Roland Garros. However, since she won the French Open, she has struggled to recover and she left the third Grand Slam of the season, Wimbledon, earlier than expected.
To regain her dominance in the last Grand Slam, the Polish player enjoyed some time off: “I feel ready: I am very excited to play this tournament and happy that I had time to train a little more. It’s great to come back here and learn more and more every year, I can feel that progress; so I hope to show it in my matches.”
Rafa has won five times in NY
Rafael Nadal returns to the US Open this year for the first time since winning the title in 2019. While the pandemic kept him away in 2020, his chronic foot condition ruled him out last year.
“Well, be focused (and) try to win. You know when you play finals, the feeling before is unique, no? Because you know you are playing for something that’s gonna stay for the rest of your career and when you are all walking through the tunnel to go out, you see the stadium packed,” Rafael Nadal said.
“The energy that New York brings to you is so, so special, so I (am) in just some way nervous, focused but at the same time, exciting and appreciating the moment,” he added. “Things have been so difficult after that (winning the 2019 US Open) with the pandemic, I had injuries – have been a couple of very tough years now,” he admitted.
“Even that way I managed to play some good tennis, to achieve some titles and this year have been very emotional after a tough couple of years.”