Iga Swiatek made working with a sports psychologist trendy when she won Roland Garros last fall. She even had her mental coach Daria Abramowicz with her in Paris. Sitting in her hotel room in Australia this month, Swiatek discussed how Abramowicz often uses Mikaela Shiffrin as a reference of competitive resilience.
"It would be a dream come true [to meet her]," Swiatek said. "I just really respect her. I feel like she's doing something different in sports. I'm not a big fan of skiing, I only watched her past season."
Like many youngsters, the 19-year-old looks up to the six-time World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
"She's a really good role model because she had her first Olympic appearance as a teenager and hopefully this year I'm also going to be at the Olympics," Swiatek said. "I also want to achieve great stuff."
The world No. 18 got a big surprise when Shiffrin responded to her kind words on Twitter. It turns out Shiffrin also learned a lot from the Pole.
"Thanks for the huge compliment. Also, congrats on the 2020 French Open win," Shiffrin wrote. "Was an amazing match to watch and huge testament to your own physical+mental fortitude. I have learned a lot from watching your point play and composure during that match and since then."
I didn't expect that...????— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) February 22, 2021
Thank you for sharing your experience. It means a lot especially that I feel that you've been in this place.
I didn't watch @cortina2021 because there was no chance here in Australia but I followed every run and every news. You rock!???? https://t.co/m3GVXoktN7
The 25-year-old alpine skier told Swiatek the "mental game is always a work in progress," and the ups and downs are just a part of life. Shiffrin also shared her perspective of how the world only expects good days out of athletes and that's far from obtainable.
"Since you are not a machine, there will be losses that hurt but we learn from the losses more than the wins AND one person's loss can be another person’s win," Shiffrin said.
Swiatek was in disbelief over seeing her role model's in-depth response.
"I didn't expect that... Thank you for sharing your experience. It means a lot especially that I feel that you've been in this place," Swiatek tweeted.
Swiatek kicked off her third event Down Under on Monday by defeating American Madison Brengle in straight sets. She will next face Aussie Maddison Inglis in Adelaide's second round.