Iga Swiatek is giddy over finally getting to meet Rafael Nadal (virtually). You'd think the two would have crossed paths in Paris where they both won Roland Garros titles without losing a set, but given the social distanced protocols and staggered finals, they didn't get the chance to hang out.
Judging by the screenshot, the topic of conversation may have concerned yachts—Nadal is a proud yacht-owner and Swiatek dreams of buying one in the future.
Swiatek has well on her way after bursting onto the scene by winning her maiden major unseeded and rising inside the Top 20. She was recently featured on Behind the Racquet, where she shared a little more of her story.
“I am only 19 years old so nothing special has happened in my life. Growing up, I played tennis because I had a lot of energy as a kid. Tennis was a chance for me to be alone on the court and make my own decisions. I loved winning and was good at it. But I did not fall in love with tennis right away because I did not know how much it could bring to my life. At age 15, I played my first junior Grand Slam, the French Open. This was the first time I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I was the top-ranked player in Poland but didn't know if I was mentally or physically ready to play professionally. We do not have many players in my country so I was not around experienced players who could teach me how to make it on tour. I had to find my own way. People are often not aware of how much pressure we have as tennis players. For me, pressure has always come from inside. I always wanted to work with a psychologist. I realized my personal life affects my performance. I started working on non-tennis things and focused on my relationship with my parents. I realized my on-court performance would improve when I settle off-court things. The mental aspect often is the difference between winning and losing a match. We are alone on the court and alone on the plane. It's important to have someone you can trust. School is a big part of my life. I graduated high school a few weeks ago. The pandemic gave me time to do well on my final exams. It was hard to study while playing on tour because I am ambitious and want to do everything perfectly. My psychologist helped me realize I don't have to do everything perfectly. I might go to college within the next few years. It depends on my tennis career because if I win a Grand Slam next year and become a Top 5 player, I don't think I'm going to have time. The most important thing is to maintain a positive state of mind and focus on mental health because we have to deal with many things such as injuries and risking our own health sometimes. I want to raise awareness about tennis in Poland and do charity work to help kids achieve their dreams. I have many ideas but have not had the guts to act on them yet.” @iga.swiatek #BTR
The 19-year-old has stressed the importance of her mental work time and time again, even having her psychologist Daria Abramowicz joining her on tour.
"I always wanted to work with a psychologist," Swiatek writes. "There is a belief that psychologists are only for people who have problems but I feel like psychologists are for people who want to improve."
Whatever she has been doing, it is clearly working.