Martina Navratilova says Iga Swiatek could be the new Rafael Nadal

Navratilova told the WTA website that Swiatek needs to move forward more often.

Quality Sport Images/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Martina Navratilova is clearly one of the best tennis players to ever hold a racket. But she did not just win because she was born with more skill than anyone else. Navratilova had to work hard to be great and that meant improving in regards to the mental side of tennis. This helped her gain more confidence which is something Navratilova thinks Iga Swiatek needs a bit more of to be her best.

Navratilova made a point when speaking to the WTA website that Swiatek specifically needs more confidence in moving toward the net. Early in her career, Swiatek tried to beat opponents by simply swinging away from the baseline and using her bombastic forehand to overpower opponents. That worked a lot, but against players with the same skill level, Swiatek struggled more.

This also happened to Rafael Nadal. Both Nadal and Swiatek have excellent forehands with a ton of topspin that make an opponent trying to return the shot basically trying to use their racket to hit an anvil. Nadal, however, got his game to be a bit more versatile and he became adept at using touch close to the net. That touch combined with his powerful forehand made him nearly impossible to beat.

Martina Navratilova thinks Iga Swiatek needs to be more like Rafael Nadal

Swiatek is already nearly impossible to beat for most players, but if she gets better at the net, she might be able to hold on to her No. 1 WTA ranking for years. She is only 22 years old and could dominate women's tennis for the next decade.

Navratilova told the WTA website, "How good will (Iga Swiatek) be if she starts going forward? Ridiculous. I think she’s got the potential to be kind of like Nadal. She’s got those soft hands - she just doesn’t seem confident to use them."

Swiatek works hard to improve herself, but she also seems a little slow to change. That probably comes from a lack of confidence in doing something differently that could yield different results and she has already been so successful. Her lack of confidence makes sense.

Very likely, though, Iga Swiatek will develop her net game. Once she does and perfects it, she could become a calendar Grand Slam winner. She is also young enough to have a real chance of catching up to Margaret Court's 24 Grand Slams.

Read more from Lob and Smash

manual