Fresh off her Roland Garros victory, World No.1 Iga Swiatek was a guest of honor at the graduation ceremony at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain on Wednesday. The four-time major champion was invited to give a speech to this year's class of graduates, which included 2022 US Open girl's champion Alexandra Eala.
"Honestly, for us it's a huge privilege to have you here today," Nadal said in his remarks. "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."
Addressing the Class of 2023, Swiatek paid tribute to her idol Nadal.
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"For the last few weeks, I've been looking at one quote at Roland Garros in Paris," Swiatek said. "On Philippe Chatrier Stadium it's written 'The victory belongs to the most tenacious.'
Swiatek said Nadal's example has impacted her version of "tenacity," that he's 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.
"So I hope no matter what you do in the future years, if you're going to give 100 percent, if you're going to dedicate your focus and time to do it the best way possible, no matter what the result is going to be I'm sure that you'll have no regrets at the end."
Swiatek also told those in attendance her admiration for Nadal grew steadily as she watched more of his matches, particularly during those moments when he wasn't 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."
Swiatek also took the time to encourage the graduates to be as tenacious and mindful with their mental health and personal growth as they are with their tennis.
"When I was younger it was really hard to open up, to talk about what I want to do, what I want to achieve, how I feel," Swiatek said. "When I started doing that I felt I could truly work on myself and I became a much better person.
"So whatever you do in the future, don't hesitate to seek help. Don't hesitate to talk about difficult stuff."
After posing with Nadal for individual photos with each graduate, Swiatek got her own opportunity to properly celebrate her own high school graduation, which took place three years ago.
"If I could borrow one of the hats and throw it in the air that would be so cool because when I graduated it was during COVID, so I got only an online graduation," Swiatek said.
The academy was happy to oblige, giving Swiatek a matching royal blue mortarboard and a tassle. Swiatek joined the graduating class on stage and, on cue, moved her tassel to the left and threw her cap in the air in celebration with the graduates.
Watch the full ceremony from the Rafa Nadal Academy below: