Rafael Nadal is a timeless legend who has met with crowds in every corner of the world. The Spanish champion was unable to be the protagonist as he would have wanted in 2021, due to a foot problem that affected a good part of his season.
The former ATP number 1 began to feel severe pain during the Roland Garros, where he was forced to surrender by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. The Majorcan took a couple of months off while missing both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, but his attempt did not produce the desired effects.
The 35-year-old from Manacor made a brief appearance on the Washington concrete, but it was clear from the start that his foot hadn't healed. A few days later, the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced his decision to close his 2021 prematurely.
Swiatek praises Rafa Nadal
Tennis fans know perfectly well that Iga Swiatek is a great admirer of the Spanish champion. Her dream of training with Rafa came true just this year at the Roland Garros. Interviewed by the Tennis Channel after easily dismissing Petra Martic in Indian Wells, the Pole reiterated her enormous admiration for Nadal.
Iga said: "It was great to be able to exchange two balls with Rafael Nadal during Roland Garros, even if it is obvious that he was not playing 100%. I was super excited. My stress level was sky high, as I didn't know if I would be able to talk to him normally or if I would stammer with emotion.
I had the confirmation that he is a very normal guy and that his success has not changed him in the slightest. How committed has he been against me? I think that - when we were playing from the center of the court - his shots had a fairly similar intensity to what he uses in the game, in fact I was able to experience his topspin. The moment we started looking for corners, he certainly didn't pull to the max."