Nadal Heaps Praise On Swiatek, Raducanu, Gauff At Wimbledon
Rafael Nadal spread the love after his second-round Wimbledon victory on Thursday, speaking at length about three of the WTA Tour's biggest stars. In his post-match press conference, the Spaniard was asked about Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff — both of whom were also victorious on Day 4 — as well as reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.
Nadal has been the subject of admiration from all corners of the tennis world, with many WTA players commending his legendary fighting spirit and his strong start to the 2022 season. World No. 1 Swiatek was on hand to see the Spaniard win the Australian Open final in January, and Nadal revealed he has been watching the Polish star throughout her 37-match win streak as well.
"I texted her a couple of times because it's unbelievable the way that she's playing," Nadal said. "It's unbelievable the way that she's able to hold the concentration and the winning spirit for such a long time. I think it's something very difficult to make that happen."
Swiatek has not lost a match since February, winning six titles on her winning streak. Nadal gave his opinion on why she has been so tough to beat.
"I think when she's playing well, it's very difficult to stop her because her shots are little bit different, with a lot of power. She's able to move well. When she's [playing] with confidence, I think she has shots that are very difficult to stop for the rest of the girls.
"I like her. I think she has a very positive attitude, fresh air for the world of tennis. Happy that a good girl like her is having a lot of success."
Raducanu returned to her home Grand Slam as a superstar after her shock US Open triumph last year, but has struggled to replicate that sort of form in 2022 and bowed out at SW19 in the second round. While Nadal stopped short of offering advice, he gave the 19-year-old a supreme vote of confidence.
"I was very impressed when I saw her winning the US Open," he said. "I saw the final. The way that she played was unbelievable.
"It's difficult to manage all this kind of success at a very early stage of your life. But I wish her all the very best. I think she is an important character for our sport."
Echoing the Briton's comments after her loss to Caroline Garcia, Nadal feels Raducanu's US Open title could serve to take some pressure off in the bigger picture.
"I know she's having a tough year, but on the other hand she already won a Slam at a very early stage of her career. That gives her, I think, calm to take her time to keep improving and to keep having chances in the near future. I really hope that she will."
Nadal sees similar greatness in Coco Gauff, both on and off the court. He predicted the American to win multiple Grand Slams and was equally complimentary of her maturity off the court.
"I like her, the way that she talks to the crowd, to the press at the end of the matches," he said. "She's fresh. She's natural. Looks very mature in her thoughts.
"I think she is a fighter. I like the way that she plays. She fight for every ball. Even sometimes when she's not playing that well, she keeps fighting until the end, running for every ball."
"I think, if she's able just to improve a little bit with this physical performance that she has, probably we'll talk about the player that she will be: [a] multi-Grand Slam winner."