French Open champion Iga Swiatek hopes to alter Wimbledon record, opens up on chances in 2023 edition

Swiatek won the junior Wimbledon title in 2018, but in the tournament proper has never made it beyond the fourth round.

Since her rapid rise to the biggest stage of tennis when she won Roland Garros in 2020, Iga Swiatek has marked her spot out as the best player in women’s tennis. She has maintained her world number one position with great comfort, and last year won 31 matches in a row — a record on the WTA for the 21st century. She is a player of that calibre, with a huge game that is nearly impossible to defend against when she is on her best form.

She enjoyed another successful run at Roland Garros, staving off her challengers and maintaining her top-ranked position in the world despite Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka breathing down her neck. However, with the tour’s most prestigious tournament coming up in the shape of Wimbledon, Swiatek only has a few short weeks to put the pieces together for a deep run at SW19.

Swiatek won the junior Wimbledon title in 2018, but in the tournament proper has never made it beyond the fourth round. However, she has a long view on her preparations on grass, looking at the situation as a work-in-progress while she keeps improving on a surface which occupies such a small part of the annual tennis schedule, and not placing too much pressure on her own results for the time being.

“Basically before every grass-court season I just want to keep being openminded and just learn a lot,” said Swiatek in an interview with Arab News. “I feel like there is maybe a little bit less pressure, but on the other hand when I just go on court, I feel like I know how I can play tennis and I know how I can play on other surfaces.”

“On grass sometimes it’s tougher and I still have to learn a lot, but I just feel like you’re going to go on court and not play the way you should or the way you could; so this thing is adding more pressure,” continued Swiatek. While grass used to be the primary surface on tour in years past, it has become increasingly more truncated.

While Wimbledon, the most famous tournament in tennis, is played on the surface, there are only a handful of tournaments in the lead-up to it, with the break between Roland Garros and Wimbledon only being around a month. This stands in opposition to the clay court season, for example, which lasts from April into June, with 3 Masters events on both the ATP and WTA. Grass holds no Masters.

Swiatek says she has appreciated not having that kind of pressure piled onto her by her fans and the media, something which eases out the process of acclimatizing to grass for her. “But I would say that the pressure from the outside, yes it’s maybe a little bit less, it depends on you guys and what questions you ask.”

“Maybe there’s going to be a chance to play more matches,” she continued, speaking of her preparations for Wimbledon. “But I’m pretty sure that still when I’m going to play these matches, I’m going to feel a little bit uncomfortable. But I also trust that every year I’m going to learn more and more and I’m going to progress anyway. But it’s a short season, only three weeks, so the challenge is tough,” concluded the Polish star.

Nevertheless, there is sure to be pressure attached to entering another Wimbledon as the top seed, with the likes of Sabalenka and defending champions Elena Rybakina hunting down that top ranking and looking to dethrone Swiatek. She will try and outdo her poor performance from 2022, and mark a new-found confidence on grass with a deep run and keep her spot at the top of the world’s rankings.


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