APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Iga Świątek takes inspiration from Rafa Nadal

3 hours and 11 minutes of battle to claim the Madrid crown for the first time. Iga Swiatek decided that if she was going to open her account in the Spanish capital, she may as well do it in style. No sooner had she sat down in her post match press conference than the Pole called it “the most intense final of my career”. It was also the longest in the tournament’s history.

The win gives Iga the 20th title of her career, her first at the Mutua Madrid Open, and completes her collection of clay titles. There are now no big titles she is yet to get her hands on. “It’s good to have it for Wikipedia”, joked the world number one.

World numbers one and two endured relentless battle from start to finish, with endless ups and downs, and tos and fros. It was a barnstormer of a tennis match that could have fallen to either competitor. Eventually, the 2024 Mutua Madrid Open champion would be decided in a tiebreak, in which Swiatek saved two match points. “It was so emotional, I’m so proud of myself. Victory tastes better that way”.

The newly crowned champion was full of praise for the runner-up. “Aryna was brave and played very aggressively and positively. The tie was decided on the very small details and we played a great match”, said Swiatek on court. “It’s impossible for anyone to say women’s tennis is boring”. After matches like today’s, nobody would dare.

Today’s final was a frenetic encounter in which neither player’s level dropped significantly at any point. The four-time Grand Slam champion learns from every match and today she highlighted her mental strength on court. “I was surprised that I felt mentally better in the third set. After two hours without being able to relax on court, I managed to do it in the last set, and that was a pleasant surprise”.

In terms of mental resilience, there is one player who is head and shoulders above the rest, his name is Rafa Nadal. Swiatek’s self-professed devotion to the Mallorcan is well-known and she frequently makes the trip to his Academy in Manacor to practise. Iga admitted that in the most difficult moments, such as the last two match points she had to defend, Nadal was not far from her thoughts. “Something that came to mind was that Rafa had several matches like that. The guys play three sets, so they can have longer to do that in Grand Slams. I remember exactly when he played against Medvedev in Australia and it worked. He struggled to get into the match, he was tense and I think he was stressed. I’m not sure because I haven’t spoken to him about it. That gave me hope that maybe it would click, even after two hours”. From one world number one to another.

The champion also had a few words for Garbiñe Muguruza, who presented her with her champion’s trophy. “Garbiñe is such a nice person, so it was nice that she gave me the trophy. A very special moment. I think she looked very happy about the new phase of her life she is starting. She seems happy, so I’m really happy for her”.

Sabalenka’s pride

Runner-up Sabalenka also attended the press. The tournament’s two-time champion is content with a great fortnight despite not having been able to claim her third crown in the Caja Mágica. “Yes, I’m so proud of myself, of having been able to come through such a tough situation, being able to fight again and play my best tennis. I’m also very proud of my team, who, whatever happens, we’re always together and fighting for the same dream. Although it was a close match, very well-fought, it fell to Iga, but I’m still happy with the way I played, the work I put into the match and this week. There are many positives to take from this tournament and I think I’ll leave Madrid feeling positive. I can’t wait to come back here next year”.