Iga Swiatek is about to win his third title in four years on the red clay French Open.
Last September, she won her first US Open hard court championship. It was the same surface used at the Australian Open, where she reached the semi-finals.
What about on the field? Wimbledon, which begins Monday, is her least successful Grand Slam to date. Swiatek only lost 5-3 at the All England Club – compared to her 28-2 at Roland Garros, for example – and those three losses came in the first, third and fourth rounds.
Swiatek, who has been ranked No. 1 since April 2022, offered some insight into how she views her game on the pitch when asked in Paris this month whether the Whether reaching the final stages of a major tournament is still a big deal for her. .
“Well, that depends, because… if I (make) the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, I would be on the moon,” Swiatek replied, “and I wouldn’t believe I was there.”
So while other players might concur with the kind of assessment Claire Liu, an American ranked in the Top 100, offers after facing Swiatek in Paris this year – “I’d say her play well on all fronts” – the theme of playing on slick blue things tends to bring out certain emotions for the 22-year-old from Poland.
Two words she repeats over and over when discussing grass: “uncomfortable” and “challenging”.
It’s a contrast to how she feels on clay.
And yet, don’t forget: Swiatek was the 2018 junior champion at Wimbledon, so it’s not a completely unfamiliar location or setting.
However, she still insists: “Sometimes it’s more difficult on the pitch and I still have a lot to learn.”
“It feels like you’re going to go out on the field and not play the way you ‘should’,” she said, wiggling her fingers, “or the way you ‘could’, you know? So this is adding pressure.
Everything she does so well on clay or hard courts seems to translate well into grass only.
It’s her big forehand. The way she can defend is very good. And on top of that, how Swiatek was able to think her way through the game, find out her opponent’s weaknesses and work around hers with tweaks here and there.
There are certainly other women who have shown they can do well on the field and at Wimbledon. Players like 2022 champion Elena Rybakina, 2022 runner-up Ons Jabeur, two-time champion Petra Kvitova, 2021 semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka.
But not many people will doubt that Swiatek will figure everything out at some point.
“It is strength,” said Agnieszka Radwanska, 2012 runner-up behind Serena Williams at the All England Club and the only Polish woman to reach a singles final there in 85 years.
“There are other players hitting the ball very hard,” said Radwanska, before explaining that Swiatek’s strong topspin gives her shots more of a consistent landing chance, as opposed to shots Flat hits produce more “to the fence” misses.
“That’s the difference,” Radwanska said. “A big difference.”
After watching her beat Karolina Muchova in three sets in the Roland Garros final, French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said she thinks Swiatek has what it takes to thrive at the All England Club .
“She might have to make an adjustment or two, be it technically or in her play,” said Mauresmo, a former No. 1 who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2006. “but I don’t understand why, with her consistency, with her physical ability and of course mentally – the way she fights and the way she causes so much trouble for girls else – she won’t be able to have a breakthrough there.”
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