Writers try hard to evoke sympathy for their protagonist(s) from readers, but it’s not easy to make them feel that way for their antagonist as well. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
Empathy definitely helps writers and editors, allowing us to understand not only the hopes and dreams of a character, but their deepest fears and motivations. What are their values and beliefs? Why do they make the life choices they do? Having them act ‘out of character’ or without clear, understandable motivation, is a surefire way to drop a reader out of your story, sometimes permanently.
The ability to walk a mile in the shoes of our characters, even physically act out scenes and speak the dialogue definitely helps to get these right. See also https://thewritepractice.com/likable-antagonist/