The world tennis No.1 and two-time Olympic skiing champion chatted on Instagram as they prepare for the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards, where they are both nominated for Sportswoman of the Year. Having previously admitted being an introvert, Swiatek shared how she has dealt with her rise to fame, with both athletes saying they find trusting people difficult.
Tennis’ world No. 1 Iga Swiatek has revealed how fame has made it harder to trust people during a candid conversation with skiing legend Mikaela Shiffrin.
The pair – who are both nominees for the 2023 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award – chatted on an Instagram Live, with one viewer saying they enjoyed how both athletes were an “example beyond sport” for sharing thoughts so openly.
Swiatek’s honesty has been seen before, after describing herself as a self-proclaimed introvert in a column for The Players’ Tribune earlier this year.
Shiffrin told Swiatek how she related to the article, saying: “When I was younger I felt the exact same way, I would stare at my feet more than at the people I was talking to.”
“I think being introverted is a strength, I think it helps you stay focused when there’s a lot of commotion and other people around.
“It’s exhausting and it’s hard to make eye contact and it’s hard to know what to say and start a conversation with someone.”
Taking the role of interviewer, the two-time Olympic champion then asked Swiatek how she has been able to deal with fame and whether her personality has changed since bursting into the spotlight.
“Tennis kind of forced me to do that,” the 21-year-old replied.
“If I wouldn’t have that extra push that tennis gave me, because I knew that if I wanted to be a top athlete I need to learn how to do media and how to talk and have ideas in my mind about what to talk about,” she said.
“When I started talking in front of the cameras and everything, I realised that if I’m able to do that then I’m totally able to do that with other people.
“On one point this was helpful, but on the other hand, if you become famous and everything, it’s tougher also to trust people.”
Swiatek has taken full advantage of Ashleigh Barty’s retirement to become the sport’s dominant force and is now hoping to add to her three Grand Slam successes to date, having already captured two French Open titles and one US Open trophy.
Despite enjoying this glory so early in her career, Swiatek admits she still needs to come to terms with being in the public eye.
“Right now, it’s more like I’m still kind of figuring it out how to manage in this world because in Poland, basically, people are really nice and everything but it’s hard right now for me to talk to a person and they’re going to know who I am.”
“Sometimes, they are treating me a little bit differently and you can feel that,” she said.
Shiffrin understands Swiatek’s point, saying: “It is tough because everybody wants something and everybody has a bit of a motive.
“For sure, a lot of those people are nice but it’s still some kind of agenda so it’s more important that you stick with the people you have known before you got to this level.”
It is really hard to make connections once you’re there,” she said.
The pair appear to have formed a new friendship of their own, though, despite never having met each other in the flesh.
Shiffrin wants to put that right this year. She said: “I really, really would love to go to Wimbledon!”
Swiatek jokingly replied: “If you want to watch me [at Wimbledon] go first week only, ’cause the second week, it’s possible that I’m not going to be there anymore!”
Stream the 2023 French Open live on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.com