The Polish star speaks on perseverance and tenacity
Fresh off her fourth major title at Roland Garros, Iga Swiatek was the guest of honor at the graduation ceremony at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Mallorca, Spain on Wednesday. The WTA World No. 1 was invited to give a speech to this year’s graduating class.
A total of 49 young students and players graduated, with the ceremony marking the end of their academic studies at the Rafa Nadal International School, the American education centre located on the academy’s campus.
Addressing the Class of 2023, Swiatek paid tribute to her idol, 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal.
“For the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at one quote at Roland Garros in Paris,” Swiatek said. “On Court Philippe-Chatrier it’s written, ‘The victory belongs to the most tenacious’.”
Nadal also spoke and had kind remarks for Swiatek, “Honestly, for us it’s a huge privilege to have you here today. I know that everybody here at the Academy, the students especially, appreciate your efforts, that after winning Roland Garros you are here inspiring all the kids.”
Rafa Nadal Academy Class of 2023 students celebrate their graduation.
Swiatek stated that Nadal’s example has impacted her version of “tenacity,” sharing that the Spaniard has been a constant reminder of how persevering and never giving up can make a difference in life.
“I often have the feeling that sometimes when I’m playing or when I’m doing things off court, that I should do them better or I should seek perfection,” Swiatek said. “But this shouldn’t be the sense. We should all focus on the process and giving 100 percent, no matter what you can give, because every day is different.”
Swiatek told those in attendance her admiration for Nadal grew steadily as she watched more of his matches, particularly during those moments when he was not at his best, when he struggled on the court and still managed to overcome the obstacles.
“These are the matches that inspired me,” she said. “So I hope you will be tenacious.”