The Pole is an intriguing mix of the old and new — play and personality. Unafraid of coming in behind her serve, she uses the court like it were her bedroom, owning every nook, angle and line. She’s not just strong off both flanks, she blitzes it. Her heavily spun forehand is deceptive. Swiatek’s colour for the championships was white — tights, long-sleeved tee and jacket, she played with several layers of clothing, which hid the trendy ‘W’ style dress she sported.
After beating fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin in straight sets to claim her country’s first Grand Slam crown, the champion at Roland Garros, didn’t wait too long before talking of her next goal.
She acknowledges the history she’s made but will only go so far. “I still think that (Agnieszka) Radwanska achieved a lot because she played on the top level of the WTA for maybe 12 years,” she said, adding that there is bound to be comparisons. “I have to be really consistent for the next couple years to be the best player in Poland. That’s her (Agnieszka’s) place (right now).”
The 19-year-old pointed at consistency, saying that’s where the women’s game is falling short. “The biggest challenge for me is to be consistent. This is where women’s tennis is struggling with. That’s why we have so many new Grand Slam winners, we are not as consistent as Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer) and Novak (Djokovic). That’s why my goal is to be consistent.”
Swiatek, despite her obvious talent, and success, winning junior Grand Slams at 16 and 17 years of age, singles and doubles, doesn’t have a racket sponsor. The junior Wimbledon champion could recall just one wildcard, in a low-grade ITF event. The teenager had little choice, but to stick with her studies, travelling with her books and finishing high school. The tennis eco-system, which seemingly rewards geography, more than it does potential, is looking tardy.
Swiatek, who has travelled with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz for the last two years, has been open about the association, unlike a lot of players in individual disciplines, who are wary of discussing the mental side of sport. “I can see the difference when I’m mentally prepared and ready to handle the pressure.” she said.
Swiatek is looking forward to the attention and adulation she will get as Grand Slam champion. She said: “I don’t have a problem with attention, with people surrounding me. It’s going to be okay.” Welcome to the jungle Iga Swiatek. Tennis has been waiting for you.