Tennis

FRENCH OPEN QUEEN IGA SWIATEK: I’m a big fan of Nadal, Lewandowski

After winning the French Open title last Saturday, clay court queen and tennis women No. 1 Iga Swiatek, reflects on the aftermath of the triumph.

 

 

The 21-year-old from Poland, who also won in Paris in 2020, beat American teenager Coco Gauff in straight sets to extend her winning streak to 35 matches. “Maybe it will disappoint a lot of readers but I didn’t have much time on Saturday night to celebrate winning the Roland Garros title. The next morning I had a photoshoot with a trophy and had to wake up very early. But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy or I’m complaining!

 

 

“I didn’t need a lot to be happy after this final.

 

I just needed a bit of a calmer time to appreciate my achievements, my life and the good people around me. Before I went to sleep on Saturday night, my final thought was how I felt very grateful. As I wrote in my post on social media after the final, I reflected on my recent achievements – winning six tournaments in a row and becoming the WTA world number one – and found out my team and I walked together on our own path.”

 

 

For Iga, rising from a previous difficult year makes her reflect more on what has changed “Last year wasn’t easy for me.

 

 

I felt my whole world had turned upside down after winning Roland Garros in 2020. There were lots of expectations in 2021 from myself and other people. Everyone wanted to see if I was as good as my result at Roland Garros.

 

 

“I had the traditional champion’s photoshoot with the Roland Garros trophy.

 

 

The tournament chose a very beautiful spot on a bridge with a view of the Eiffel Tower: Pont de Bir-Hakeim. I love the landscape of the River Seine. Unfortunately, after that, I couldn’t go back to Roland Garros to watch the men’s final between Rafael Nadal – who is my tennis idol – and Casper Ruud in the stadium because of my flight back home. But I did manage to watch part of the match on my laptop. I’m glad that Rafa proved once again it is tough to beat him on Paris clay. He’s the indisputable legend of this tournament.”

 

For some days thereafter, Iga is looking forward to staying away from tennis and enjoying the simple pleasures.

 

 

I’m dreaming about enjoying the simple pleasures, really. Doing my laundry, cleaning my room, sleeping in my own bed, chatting with my family during breakfast or dinner, and meeting with my friends.

 

 

Watching some TV series in my bed and eating some good dessert, too. Maybe I will also spend some time by the water on stand-up paddles – that’s something else I really love doing. After so many weeks on tour and playing until the end in six tournaments in a row, I just need to be at home. That makes me so happy.

 

 

Poland footballer Robert Lewandowski used a break in the national team’s Nations League games to watch Swiatek in Paris and Iga said she was over the hill seeing him.

 

 

When I won the final on Saturday, I ran off the court and went to my box to celebrate with my team – then saw Robert Lewandowski there a few rows behind them. I was seriously surprised because I didn’t know he was there.

 

My team and my management knew about it but they decided not to tell me to not distract me. It was a good decision because for me it is important to keep my routines, especially during such significant matches.

 

 

My team knows me well so they are allowed to keep these kinds of things from me. To see Robert there was an honour. I’m glad he wanted to watch my match and he enjoyed my tennis.

 

I first met him two years ago when he won a Polish award for the best athlete of the year and I took second place.

 

 

He is the best Polish athlete, I know he worked hard to be in this position and I admire this approach of the systematic, step-by-step process of work.

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