Perhaps the most endearing thing about the Roland Garros 2020 event we just bid adieu was (read: is, and will be) women's singles champ Iga Swiatek's effusive, one-person fandom for Rafael Nadal.
????Congratulations @RafaelNadal! It's amazing to kind of share this experience with you. Am I even allowed to say this?????— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) October 11, 2020
The two certainly relish their topspin forehands. They're also all but sure to enjoy much more success on the red dirt of Paris before their respective career twilights. It's easy to imagine that, with less chilly and heavy conditions, the pair would have wreaked even more havoc upon their opponents over seven matches each.
Swiatek might have channeled her inner Nadal in singles competition (doubling that with, well, a women's doubles semifinal showing), but she might have trickier shorts even than his, and certainly at this age. She certainly has his grit and I'll-laugh-later mercilessness on court. As tennis writer Alex Macpherson pointed out, since 2000, only Serena and Venus Williams have been more unforgiving in terms of the sheer number of games surrendered en route to a major singles final appearance.
Says here that the 19-year-old Pole, the first from her country to win a major title, will in due time no longer be spectating at a star player's practice, but rather finding herself enjoying a friendly hit across the net from him. Maybe she will also develop a penchant, like him, not just for kissing her good many trophies, but winkingly chomping down on them. She almost surely will join WTA Tour pal Naomi Osaka in not dithering about adding to her Grand Slam cache.