Iga Swiatek, the amazing and uninhibited patron of women's tennis

Iga Swiatek, the amazing and uninhibited patron of women’s tennis

Since the beginning of 2022, there is Iga Swiatek and the others. More dominant than ever at Porte d’Auteuil, the Polish woman, just 21 years old, is the undisputed queen of the women’s circuit. After his victory to everyone’s surprise in October 2020, Swiatek, ultra-favorite this year, won a second Suzanne-Lenglen Cup, by outclassing American prodigy Coco Gauff in the Roland-Garros final on Saturday June 4 (6-1.6 -3). A new coronation which comes to crown three months of unchallenged domination of the child of Warsaw.

Swiatek fully assumes her recent status as world number 1, which she suddenly inherited at the beginning of April following the surprise retirement of Ashleigh Barty. This coronation is the sixth WTA title in a row in 2022 for Iga Swiatek (after Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome), a feat only achieved by Serena Williams in 2003.

A success also synonymous with a 35th victory in a row for the Pole, the greatest uninterrupted series of victories among women since the beginning of the 2000s, tied with Venus Williams. “I’m really proud of this series, underlined the 21-year-old player in the post-match conference. It’s hard to have a record in women’s tennis after Serena’s career (Williams, 34 straight wins), so beating her is really something very special for me.”

“We have undoubtedly found a boss, estimates the consultant of France Télévisions and famous trainer, Patrick Mouratoglou. It’s a number 1 that assumes completely, which is very rare. From Serena (Williams), there is hardly anyone who has managed to stay on top, she is one of the few players who for the moment are holding the house well. What she has done this year is sensational. She has very good days ahead of her, that’s for sure.”

“Two titles in three years is something exceptional”, specifies the quadruple winner of Roland-Garros, Justine Hénin. Impressed by the performance of the Polish, the consultant France Télévisions calls for caution, however: “There are always things happening on the circuit”.

Nevertheless, Swiatek, the only survivor of the Top 10 after the third round in this Roland-Garros, seems well on its way to staying at the top this year. In Paris, she once again shone with her athletic qualities, her speed of movement, her fierce forehand and her great capacity for anticipation. “I have the impression that this season, everything has fallen into place, all the work that I have done physically, tennistically and mentally”explained Swiatek after his express semi-final against Daria Kasatkina (6-2, 6-1). “Last year I was still gaining experience. Now I’m using my experience to make everything work as it should.”

A recent rise in power which coincides with his change of coach in the off-season. Previously supported by Piotr Sierzputowski, Swiatek is now followed by Tomasz Wiktorowski. “He helped me change my way of thinking about the game, recently declared the player to WTA Insider. He convinced me to play more aggressively. Before, I didn’t really think it was my kind of game, whereas today I feel that this aggressiveness is one of the keys to my success this season.”

His dominance is such that we almost forget that a year ago, Swiatek was still looking for consistency. The Pole has repeatedly admired the consistency of Ashleigh Barty in the 2021 season, during which the Australian won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon (three since the Australian Open 2022). A consistency that seemed to be lacking last year.

I managed to prove to myself and others that I can be among the best

Iga Swiatek

at the pre-tournament press conference

Under pressure in Paris in June 2021 to defend her title, Swiatek (eliminated in the quarter-finals last year at Porte d’Auteuil) seems to have found the key to managing the expectations around her – and thus performing well on the courts. Her work with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz, who has been following her since 2019 on all her trips, is bearing fruit. “I’m more relaxed, underlined the Pole before the start of the tournament. I learned to better manage the pressure and expectations around me. […] Before, I didn’t have that much confidence. This year, I feel a lot more serenity.”

Regularity, the Polish had also made it one of her main objectives after her coronation surprise in 2020. “Many may compare us with (Agnieszka) Radwanska [Finaliste polonaise de Wimbledon en 2012] but I have to play regularly for the next two years to be able to say that I am the best player in Poland, she declared after her first Porte d’Auteuil title. I still have a long way to go to catch up with her. What is problematic in women’s tennis is staying consistent. That’s going to be the biggest challenge for me.” We can say that it is now done for the one who is twice titled in Grand Slam, at only 21 years old.

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