Slam legend says Iga Swiatek is becoming 'women's version of Rafael Nadal on clay'

Swiatek receives the ultimate praise from one Slam legend.

by Dzevad Mesic
Slam legend says Iga Swiatek is becoming 'women's version of Rafael Nadal on clay'
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Mason

Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has dropped the ultimate praise on Iga Swiatek's clay game as the former doubles world No. 1 thinks the 22-year-old Pole is on the path to becoming "the women's version of Rafael Nadal on clay."

Swiatek, who turns 23 on May 31st, already has three French Open titles in five Roland Garros appearances. Also, Swiatek has three Rome titles - two titles in Stuttgart - and recently won her first Madrid title. 

Woodbridge, a former 16-time Grand Slam champion in men's doubles and a six-time champion in mixed doubles, believes there is a big gap between Swiatek and the rest of the competition on clay. 

"Her game is just so well suited (clay). But more than anything for me, it's her ability to slide and move on the surface that is far better than any other female player, and if not, possibly up there with the best, alongside a Steffi Graf,” Woodbridge told the Australian Open website.

“She has the best defence on a clay court of any female player currently, and then as soon as she can get back into neutral, with her forehand she has the best offence.

“How do you beat that?”

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Clive Mason

Woodbridge: Swiatek is becoming the women's version of Nadal on clay 

Heading into her sixth French Open campaign, Swiatek boasts an impressive 28-2 record at Roland Garros.

Reflecting on Swiatek's major early success on clay, Woodbridge says the Pole's movement and physicality at Roland Garros remind him of Steffi Graf - the concentration of Chris Evert - the intensity and focus of Monica Seles - and the determination of Justine Henin. 

When all of that is combined, you get a dominant clay player and Woodbridge believes more major clay success will come for the 22-year-old Pole. 

"They're champion characteristics, and she has them,” Woodbridge said.

"Sometimes a player comes along and there is a court and a surface that they own, like Rafa at Roland Garros. Iga is becoming the women's version of Rafa on a clay court.”

Iga Swiatek Rafael Nadal