Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek talks title defence and Wimbledon aspirations

Swiatek wrote her name in the history books when she became the lowest-ranked woman to win the French Open the previous year at rank 54.

Iga Swiatek in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/Roland Garros)

The 2020 women’s Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek opened up about being a Rafael Nadal follower, how it is harder dealing with success than failure, and her ambitions of winning a different Grand Slam this time around. In an interview with the BBC, Swiatek said that the only place for her maiden French Open trophy would be her room in her parents’ house. The 19-year-old also said that the pressure on her to perform at the upcoming Roland Garros is immense. As the defending champion, Swiatek will have a mountain to climb to cope with the pressure and retain her crown.

“It’s kind of funny because I won a Grand Slam and I’m competing every week on tour, but you know, I’m a teenager and it’s in my room in my dad’s house because I still haven’t moved out,” Swiatek said.

“It’s a contrast but it shows that we’re human. My trophy stays there and it probably still will when I move out because that’s the right place and it shows how much my parents have done since I was a kid.”

TITLE DEFENCE

Despite the pressure, Swiatek said that she is not too worried about defending her title. “When you win a Grand Slam everybody will always remember that you won a Grand Slam,” she said.

“I don’t think of it like I have to defend the trophy and win the French Open because what I did is always going to be with me.”

Swiatek wrote her name in the history books when she became the lowest-ranked woman to win the French Open the previous year at rank 54. At the moment, she is ranked ninth in the world and she recently won the Italian Open crown. She often praises her sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz for her accomplishments. She is the one Swiatek turned to after the Roland Garros victory “changed her life”.

“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 said.

“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 the court because sometimes I feel like I’m not playing for myself and that’s not a good thing. I just have to find that space where I just calm myself and remind myself that hopefully in two years I’m just going to be constantly in that mood when I just don’t worry and I’m just having fun because I think that’s what the biggest champions do, they just don’t care and they just play and focus on their job,” she added.

WIMBLEDON DREAMS

Swiatek acknowledged that defending the Roland Garros crown would be a rather difficult test. There have been 12 different names in the last 16 Grand Slam titles in women’s tennis. The last woman to successfully defend her crown was the great Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016.

“It’s hard to be defending champion for sure, especially in women’s tennis – I think with all the champions we kind of lack a consistency for a little bit,” she said.

Swiatek also said that although the French Open was her current priority, she would like to win other Grand Slam titles as well.

“I think it would be nice to win another Grand Slam because I know I can play on clay court but for the past few years I was trying to improve my game on hard courts, and it’s going pretty well and it would be a nice confirmation to me that I’m doing a great job,” she said.

“But also winning on grass would be pretty crazy for me because even though I won junior Wimbledon [in 2018], I still don’t understand that surface very well, so that would be really crazy but I would love to win Wimbledon,” added Swiatek.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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