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“Rafael Nadal is called a clay specialist but he has won so many tournaments on hardcourt and grass” – Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek’s natural game may make it look like she is destined to be a clay court specialist, but much like her idol Rafael Nadal, the Pole wants to become equally good on all three surfaces.

While Nadal has been considered a clay specialist by many, he is no slouch on the other two surfaces, having won the Australian Open, US Open, and Wimbledon on multiple occasions as well.

The Spaniard has also won several other titles in other hardcourt tournaments, proving once and for all that he is as good a threat regardless of the surface he plays on.

That is the blueprint Swiatek plans to follow, admitting as much during her press conference at the 2023 Italian Open, where she defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-0 on Sunday in the third round.

While Iga Swiatek acknowledged her shortcomings on grass, she declared that it is something she plans to overcome in the coming years, inspired by the exploits of Nadal, among other things.

“I think if we want to be the best in tennis, you have to play well on all these surfaces. I’m lucky enough to have the grass court season only for three weeks, but I’m still getting it.

I know it’s an important part of the tour and I should be better at it,” Iga Swiatek said.
“For sure I feel like, yeah, you should be good on all surfaces.

As you could see, Rafa, he’s called clay court specialist, but he won so many tournaments on hard court and grass as well. The goal is to be good everywhere,” she added.

When asked whether she considered herself a clay specialist, the World No. 1 did not think that was truly the case, even if she felt most comfortable on clay.

Instead, the 21-year-old tiptoed around the question by stating that she was more like a player who preferred clay to the other surfaces, while not shunning them completely.

“Yeah, for sure there are always going to be players who feel more comfortable on clay or on hard court, so it’s just a matter of – I don’t know – the technique and being used to it,” Iga Swiatek said.

“Yes, it’s tricky. I don’t know. I think, I think, I think it kind of leans more to, like, implying that the player only can play on clay. I guess having more variety is nice.

But just saying the player feels more comfortable on clay, I think that’s the most proper kind of thing to say,” she added.


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