Iga Swiatek ‘cried’ after watching Rafael Nadal as Spaniard edges closer to retirement | Tennis | Sport

Iga Swiatek has admitted that she was reduced to tears while watching Rafael Nadal’s farewell ceremony at the Madrid Open. The Spaniard, who is widely expected to retire this year, was knocked out in the fourth round by Jiri Lehecka in a one-sided contest.

Nadal was honoured with a farewell ceremony after the match, with five banners picturing his five Madrid Open wins falling down from the closed roof. The 37-year-old cut an emotional figure as the Madrid crowd waved goodbye to their greatest champion, with his eventual retirement looming large.

In an interview with Tennis Channel, Swiatek revealed that she was moved to tears while watching the ceremony but admitted she had ‘mixed feelings’ about Nadal’s situation, being so far away from having to think about her own retirement.

She said: “Well, you know, mixed emotions because obviously, I’m still pretty young, so it’s hard for me to understand what is his exact situation. I haven’t been in this place where I’m playing my last tournament. I watched the whole ceremony in Madrid and I cried, obviously, but he seems happy and that’s the most important thing.”

Swiatek went on to commend Nadal for his approach, insisting that he should be respected for bowing out on his own terms after so many years at the top of his game.

“I think his approach is very smart and really a good example of an athlete that he’s kind of satisfied with what he’s achieved and he is okay with starting another chapter in his life,” she added. “Everybody’s obviously making a huge fuss around it, but it’s his life and he’s doing everything the way he wants to, on his terms.”

After crashing out of the Madrid Open, Nadal was beaten in the second round of the Italian Open with Hubert Hurkacz cruising to a straight-sets victory in Rome. He went on to suggest that he could skip the French Open, admitting that he does not feel ready to compete at Roland Garros based on his recent performances.

Nadal said: “Now is two ways. Probably one is to say: ‘Okay, I am not ready, I am not playing well enough’. Then is the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros. Another is to accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks.

“Let’s see what’s going on, how I feel myself mentally tomorrow, after tomorrow, and in one week. If I feel ready, I am going to try to be there and fight for the things that I have been fighting the last 15 years.”

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