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Iga Swiatek Has Golden Opportunity to Emulate Idol Rafael Nadal if She Wins Wimbledon 2024; Here’s How

Dhruv Rupani

How Iga Swiatek is Indeed the Rafael Nadal of Women's Tennis

Iga Swiatek will be gunning to overcome what has arguably been the biggest Achilles heel of her career, the Wimbledon Championships. Despite dominating women’s sport for many years now, Swiatek has struggled on grass and her best showing at the Grand Slam was making it to the quarterfinals of the 2023 edition. The World No.1 women’s tennis player is being branded widely as primarily a clay court specialist, which is why she continues to draw a lot of comparisons with her idol, Rafael Nadal.

Aged 23, Iga Swiatek has already won 5 Grand Slam titles, 4 of which have been solely at the French Open. Similarly, by the time Nadal turned 23 in June 2009, he has won 6 majors. Co-incidentally, 4 of those were at Roland Garros as well. However, he won his first Wimbledon title in July 2008. So by that age, Nadal was considered more versatile a player than at the start of his career.

The Wimbledon 2024 will provide Iga Swiatek a great chance to emulate Rafael Nadal by winning the grass court Grand Slam at the same age as him. There is no better motivation for her to break her streak of not winning on grass. Swiatek is exceptional for having won the US Open in 2022. However, she is not considered an all-court player.

The major difference between the two players is that Rafael Nadal had two back-to-back Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007 under his belt to learn and take confidence from, before that iconic 2008 win over Roger Federer. However, Iga Swiatek has not yet cracked the code.

According to Tennis Australia’s senior manager of game analysis, Simon Rea, Iga Swiatek has as much as desire as Rafael Nadal when it comes to improving some aspects of her game constantly. Rea pointed out that Swiatek has already seen positive results in slight adjustments she has made this season. He pinpointed her serve and return as the two things she needs to up if she has to win the Wimbledon 2024.

“There are parallels between Nadal and Swiatek in their want to continually grow and improve from a technical perspective.

“Swiatek has also changed her serve technique; she’s not standing still here, and this is why she’s such a great champion.

“If her second-serve points won percentage just creeps above 50 per cent this year, that could be really compelling. If her first-serve-unreturned percentage – the ability to generate cheap points on her serve – rises, say, from 26 to 35, I think that makes a world of difference for her. She may not have to get it to 50, like Rybakina.

“What does all of this translate to? It comes down to short points won. At Iga’s last two Wimbledons she’s won 53 per cent of those short points played, in the 0-4 shot range. Vondrousova won 58, Rybakina won 56.

“If Swiatek’s serve and return stuff improves even five per cent, I think she’s right there. There’s no good reason why she can’t translate that to being a legitimate title contender on the grass,” Rea was quoted as saying to the Australian Open.

Iga Swiatek stands a good chance to win the Wimbledon this year. But as per analysts like Rea, Elena Rybakina is a huge contender to repeat her 2022 success. The Swiatek vs Rybakina rivalry could be renewed in the semifinals of the tournament.

Will Elena Rybakina Be the Biggest Obstacle for Iga Swiatek to Overcome?

Elena Rybakina stunned fans last year when she lost to Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals, failing to defend her title. After Iga Swiatek, if there is an all-round player on the WTA Tour at the moment, it is none other than Rybakina. The Kazakhstani star has won atleast a title on each surface, amounting to 7 so far.
Elena Rybakina will play as the 4th seed at the Wimbledon 2024, while Iga Swiatek will be the No.1 seed. Rybakina’s last title win came at the Stuttgart Open (although on clay). Even though she has struggled in recent times with shock losses and ill-health, she could fancy her chances on grass too like Swiatek.
Aryna Sabalenka, the second seed, has not really proved herself on grass at all. And like Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, the third seed from the United States, is also someone who is more of a hard court specialist. Unless someone like a Martina Vondrousova comes along and stuns opponents along the way in 7 back-to-back matches, SW19 this year could belong to either Iga Swiatek or Elena Rybakina. So others will have to play out of their skins to even make it to the finals.

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Dhruv Rupani

Dhruv Rupani


Dhruv Rupani is a Tennis Editor at The SportsRush. He is a tennis tragic in every sense and would go to any length to defend it against anyone if compared negatively to other sports. A huge Rafael Nadal supporter, Dhruv believes tennis is very much like life in most aspects. He started following the sport at the age of 10. Translating his love for sports into a living, he has over 8 years of experience in the digital media space. He aims to entertain and educate people about sports by presenting the best updates to them. When not covering tennis, Dhruv loves to spend time watching comedy shows and movies, reading inspiring books and doesn't mind trying his hand at cooking sometimes!

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