Iga Swiatek left in absolute disbelief over stunning question in Rome presser

Swiatek couldn't believe what she was being asked.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek left in absolute disbelief over stunning question in Rome presser
© Getty Images Sport - Christopher Pike

Iga Swiatek appeared to be left stunned and in disbelief after being asked in Rome how does she explain "not receiving attention in the presence of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic."

Swiatek, the WTA world No. 1 and a four-time Grand Slam champion, reached the Rome Open round-of-16 on Saturday after beating Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-4. By clinching a win over Putintseva, Swiatek improved to 10-1 this clay season and she is four wins away from winning her third Rome title and also winning back-to-back titles this clay season - the Pole won Madrid a week earlier. 

As mentioned above, 22-year-old Swiatek has already enjoyed massive success in Rome as she is in a position to have three titles at Foro Italico before turning 23. Naturally, Swiatek came to Rome as one of the top favorites and people talk about her as the one to beat. 

But after her latest Rome win, Swiatek was pretty much told that people weren't paying attention on her as she was asked "why is the attention of the people not on you?"

"Why, what?" Swiatek responded.

Swiatek then added more. 

"Well, I don't know if that was a punch or not," Swiatek said.

"I think there is some attention on me, but I totally understand why Rafa and Novak, they have such a huge fan base. It's not like I'm jealous or something.

"Well, it's Rafa's last tournament - not last, but last tournament in Rome possibly. I get why people are focusing on watching him.

"And Novak, obviously he's the G.O.A.T. as well.

"I don't understand this question, honestly."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Swiatek on the first time she met Nadal

Over the last couple of years, Swiatek has numerous times spoken about how she used to idolize Nadal and look up to him growing up. After being asked a question that left her stunned, the 22-year-old Pole received a much nicer question as she was asked if she remembered the first time she watched on Nadal and saw him in person. 

"I mean, on TV I don't. I remember I saw him playing on Jean-Bouin in Roland Garros 2017. So, yeah," Swiatek shared.

Recalling seeing Nadal for the first time, Swiatek remembered that she thought how he looked "bigger" in person than on TV. 

"Yes. But I think it's 2017. Yeah, I think he played 2017. He didn't play 2016. That was my first Roland Garros. I was pretty sad that I had no one to cheer for," Swiatek said. 

"Yeah, right, he didn't play 2016? Sorry if I got it wrong.

"Yeah, I saw him practicing on Jean-Bouin. I remember he looked much bigger than on TV live. That's what I remember. I just watched him practice. I kind of wanted to take something from it."

Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal
Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Jamie Squire

Swiatek on Nadal soon retiring from tennis: I cried in Madrid

Before coming to this week's Rome Masters, Nadal said goodbye to fans in Barcelona in Madrid. After losing in the Madrid round-of-16 to Lehecka, Nadal stayed on the court for some time as there was a little ceremony during which the Spanish tennis icon addressed the crowd and said a final goodbye. 

Swiatek, who won the Madrid Open, reveals she followed the ceremony and cried. 

"Well, you know, mixed emotions (on Nadal's career coming to an end) because obviously, I'm still pretty young, so it's hard for me to understand what's his exact situation. I haven't been in this place where I'm playing my last tournament," Swiatek said on Tennis Channel.

"I watched the whole (farewell) ceremony in Madrid and I cried obviously, but he seems happy and that's the most important thing. And kind of, I think, his approach is very smart and really a good example of an athlete that he's kind of satisfied with what he's achieved and he is okay with starting another chapter in his life.

"Everybody's obviously making a huge fuss around it, but it's his life and he's doing everything the way he wants (to), on his terms."

Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal
Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Jamie Squire

After Madrid, Nadal also made what was likely his last Rome appearance. On Saturday, Nadal exited Rome in the second round following a 1-6 3-6 loss to Hubert Hurkacz. 

Moments after the match ended, Nadal rushed to leave the court and the tournament organizers were unable to play a special tribute they prepared for the record 10-time Rome champion. Later, Nadal said he was "98 percent" sure this was his last Rome appearance - it may not be much but the 37-year-old Spaniard still left a small chance to return to Foro Italico next year.

On the other side, Swiatek is still alive in the tournament and plays next against Angelique Kerber.

Iga Swiatek