Victorious for a second time at Roland Garros, Iga Swiatek assumes her rank as leader

9:59 p.m., June 4, 2022

A part without real thrill, but then tears, on both sides. Until a press conference for Coco Gauff, 18 and the youngest finalist since Kim Clijsters in 2001. Hers spoke of discovery and impotence. Those of Iga Swiatek, more discreet, were seen differently, like floodgates finally allowed to open. Twenty months ago, ranked 54th in the world, she was the lowest-ranked player to embrace triumph. This time, she loved the prognosis. Maximum pressure. While the rest of the top 10 packed up in a week, the rank of new leader was therefore assumed until the end (6-1, 6-3).

“The first time, I felt like I was lucky. This victory resonates differently, it makes me even more proud. Because I put the pieces of the puzzle together, in conscience, to win. » Enough to deserve the hug of Robert Lewandowski, the other head of the gondola of Polish sport. “If I had known he was there, it would have completely stressed me out,” joked the winner, who had not forgotten, in a more serious moment, to greet Ukraine during the ceremony.

A series of 35 victories

So here she is at six tournaments and 35 matches pocketed in a row, a series that places her at 21 just behind six legends, from Navratilova to Seles. “But in front of Serena (Williams), and that is something. » In short, a more ultra Swiatek, shy in private but freed from prying eyes on the pitch. Only struggling with her expectations, not those of others. “I realize that I can be number 1 and handle this situation properly, she noted at the end of the shift, a reference to the torch passed on by Ashleigh Barty, freshly retired. Things have changed in my mind. »

When you are so young and so open on the mental aspect, it is already a form of maturity

Her mind, her emotions… The subject, for her, seems no less important than the curved forehand. She grabbed it early, accompanied by a sports psychologist on tournaments long before winning any. “When you are so young and so open on the mental aspect, it is already a form of maturity”, says Daria Abramowicz, the shrink in question, thanked on the court for a message written in front of the camera. Figure of Polish tennis, Wojtek Fibak believes that the family situation has played: “Iga’s parents separated when she was 15. his father (7th at the 1988 Olympic Games in rowing) was by her side all the time, but she needed an outside ear to deal with this emotional side, more pronounced than with the other girls. » To see more than a strictly personal horizon: on October 10 in Indian Wells, for World Mental Health Day, she said she was donating her prize money ($50,000) to a dedicated association.

“The best student in high school”

With Abramowicz, the work is marked by breathing techniques, meditation and visualization. At the change of sides, Swiatek happened to see himself “starting the game over from scratch”. This week, she has sometimes hummed Dua Lipa in her head on the court, after entering it with Led Zeppelin in her ears, proving that her eclecticism is not limited to her racket.

This is also evidenced by his current readings: 21 Lessons for the 21st Centuryby Yuval Noah Harari, to the Three Musketeersby Alexandre Dumas. “We’re talking about a very intelligent girl, obsessed with how to improve her game, but also curious to learn outside, observes Fibak. The wife of a well-known artist in Poland was his high school teacher; she told me that she was her best pupil. » It’s still the case, it’s just the class that has changed.

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Victorious for a second time at Roland Garros, Iga Swiatek assumes her rank as leader

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