Naomi Osaka's beautiful gesture for rival after life-changing moment
Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek was catapulted into superstardom after her 2020 season and the teen has now revealed a special message she received from Naomi Osaka.
Swiatek has continued her excellent form throughout the clay court season and was installed as the favourite to win the 2021 French Open crown, with 2019 champion and World No.1 Ash Barty relegated to second.
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But the young Polish star has admitted she struggled in the immediate aftermath of her maiden Grand Slam victory.
Last year, the 19-year-old one the French Open after an extraordinary fortnight in Paris.
However, she admitted the pressure took a toll on her and she puts down a lot of her success to her sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz.
"Daria helped me a lot with all the expectations and all the stuff that was bothering me after the French Open because actually I realised that sometimes it's harder to deal with success than the times you are losing," Swiatek told the BBC.
"Sometimes with my own expectations it's hard but then I have to remind myself that I just have to focus on work and just remember why I play tennis and have fun on court because sometimes I feel like I'm not playing for myself and that's not a good thing."
Naomi Osaka's kind gesture to Swiatek
However, Swiatek said she was looking to past champions following her victory.
This is when her friend, and rival, Osaka reached out to Swiatek.
"Naomi texted me after the French Open to say if I need anything then I can always ask her and she would understand perfectly because she has been in a situation like that," she added.
"It's good to know you have the option."
Osaka was quiet and reserved when she burst onto the tennis scene.
But the four-time Grand Slam champ, who has a mega-deal with Nike, is now one of the most recognisable athletes in the world and has since embraced her role.
She also took part in the Black Lives Matter protests last year and has used her platform to help raise awareness around the issue.
Swiatek French Open favourite
This year, Swiatek might be feeling the pressure in her first Grand Slam defence and she has surprisingly been installed as favourite.
Swiatek then made the most of World No.1 Barty's recent withdrawal at the Italian Open to win the title before sending a warning to her French Open rivals.
The Polish teenager said she won't be satisfied with simply winning one grand slam trophy after claiming her first WTA 1000 title in Rome.
She was relatively unknown a year ago before winning her first career title at the 2020 French Open.
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