Iga Świątek revealed she received a heartwarming text from her idol Rafael Nadal after exiting the Australian Open at the semi-final stage.
Świątek enjoyed an excellent run at the Grand Slam, defeating Daria Kasatkina, Sorana Cîrstea and Kaia Kanepi on her way to a last four clash against Danielle Collins.
Her run ended there, however. Collins triumphed 6-4, 6-1 to power into her first Grand Slam final, setting up a clash with home favourite Ashleigh Barty.
In an interview with Sport.PL, Świątek revealed she received encouragement from Nadal after crashing out of the tournament.
“I will not reveal all the details, but Rafa emphasised that I played a great tournament, that I had a great start to the season, and that I should focus on the next steps, because I am going in the right direction,” she said.
The 20-year-old Świątek has regularly described Nadal as her childhood idol, reiterating her admiration for the 20-time Grand Slam winner in a BBC Sport column this month.
Świątek and Nadal first met when shared a practice court while preparing for Roland-Garros last year, with both stars entering the tournament as defending champions.
“You may have heard I’m a big fan of Rafael Nadal and when I met him for the first time it was pretty cool to see he is down to earth,” Świątek said.
“He was really humble and it doesn’t seem like the success has changed him. If I’m going to win more Grand Slam titles and have more success in my career then I hope I will be like Rafa.”
Świątek burst onto the scene at the French Open in 2020, winning her first Grand Slam title at just 19-years-old.
She has maintained her place at the top of women’s tennis, triumphing at the Italian Open last year and becoming the only player in 2021 to reach the second week of all four Grand Slams.
Nadal is through to the final of the Australian Open, overcoming Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals. He will play Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.
If Nadal is to win, he will earn a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title. The 35-year-old is currently level on 20 major titles with long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
His impressive performance at the Australian Open comes just a few months after the Spaniard thought a foot injury could end his prolific career.