Iga Swiatek said that as a big fan of Rafa Nadal, she would love to see the 14-times champion compete at the French Open, but the world number one did not want the injury-plagued Spaniard to suffer and make himself available for the tournament.
Nadal has not played since sustaining a hip injury at the Australian Open in January, and there are doubts about the 36-year-old’s participation in Paris after the 22-time major champion pulled out of the ongoing Italian Open.
“I’m a big Rafa fan. I wish he could play. I really respect the kind of warrior he is. He’s always trying to push and trying to get better and play better and just trying to compete at the highest level,” Swiatek told reporters in Rome on Friday.
“I don’t know how much pain he’s living with. I don’t want to see him suffering a lot. I’m biased because I’d love to see him play, but on the other hand I know if he’s going to really suffer, it’s not going to be so fun to see him like that.”
American Coco Gauff, who finished runner-up to Swiatek at Roland Garros last year, had said that Nadal would still be her top pick for the title if he can make it to Paris.
Swiatek said she hoped Nadal would be “healthy and happy” even if he missed the May 28-June 11 Grand Slam.
“That’s the main goal no matter what happens with tennis,” the Polish player added.
Swiatek, who hammered 2021 French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0 6-0 on Friday, continues her Rome campaign when she plays Lesia Tsurenko on Sunday.