Iga Swiatek, Voted a Fan Favorite, Turns to the Finals

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Tennis|Iga Swiatek, Voted a Fan Favorite, Turns to the Finals


She shocked the athletics erstwhile she not lone won the French Open, but dominated it. Building Legos helps her relax.

Iga Swiatek of Poland, shown present  astatine  the Ostrava Open successful  the Czech Republic successful  September, qualified for her archetypal  WTA Finals past  year, but the lawsuit   was canceled due to the fact that of the pandemic.
Credit...David W Cerny/Reuters

Nov. 5, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

Iga Swiatek likes Legos and agelong books. Both assistance support her mentally crisp for the grueling matches she plays connected the WTA Tour.

While quarantined successful her edifice country for 2 weeks earlier the Australian Open successful February, Swiatek, 20, completed the contents of 2 elephantine Lego boxes that she carried from her location successful Poland. When she began competing astatine the United States Open successful August, she was 3 weeks into speechmaking “Gone with the Wind,” a agelong American classic.

A twelvemonth ago, aft shocking the athletics by winning the French Open without dropping a acceptable (she mislaid conscionable 28 games successful 7 matches), Swiatek became the lowest-ranked woman, astatine No. 54, to triumph the title. She was besides the archetypal subordinate from Poland to seizure a large and the youngest pistillate to triumph astatine Roland-Garros since then-18-year-old Monica Seles successful 1992.

Swiatek qualified for her archetypal WTA Finals, the eight-woman championship, past year, but the lawsuit was canceled due to the fact that of the pandemic. A twelvemonth later, aft winning the Adelaide International and Italian Open and reaching No. 4 successful the satellite successful September, Swiatek, present ranked No. 10, has qualified again.

The pursuing speech has been edited and condensed.

How disappointed were you erstwhile past year’s finals was canceled?

I wouldn’t accidental that I was disappointed due to the fact that past twelvemonth was beauteous tricky for me. I was blessed that Roland-Garros was the past tourney due to the fact that I could larn however to woody with each the caller world and caller obligations. And it wouldn’t person been just [to contention the finals] since determination were truthful fewer tournaments and galore players didn’t play. I cognize that the Covid concern and the interruption that we had connected circuit astir apt helped maine a lot. I don’t cognize if I would person had the aforesaid occurrence if we didn’t person Covid.


Credit...Elise Amendola/Associated Press

When you were a small girl, did you ever ideate being among the Elite Eight?

I ne'er thought astir it due to the fact that determination are truthful galore different players with large experience. But aft I won Roland-Garros I had the feeling that thing could hap successful tennis close now.

In Guadalajara, you volition beryllium playing with pressureless tennis balls to combat the effects of the 5,000-foot altitude. How volition you adjust?

I person nary idea. I person to effort this. I played successful Madrid (about 2,100 feet) for the archetypal clip this year, and my shots were flying similar crazy. So we made immoderate adjustments, and by the extremity I played truly coagulated tennis. Guadalajara is going to beryllium adjacent worse, truthful I truly request to get utilized to the conditions.

In Indian Wells you had the accidental to sojourn with Andy Murray, and present you privation to signifier with him. What bash you privation to learn?

I told him we should signifier connected writer because, adjacent though I reached the 4th circular astatine Wimbledon this year, I consciousness similar each time tin beryllium tricky connected grass, and I request immoderate much powerfulness and much acquisition to beryllium coagulated there.

You were voted the WTA’s instrumentality favourite for your driblet changeable and your singles play. What did that mean to you?

It meant a batch due to the fact that erstwhile I person a hard clip uncovering the information to signifier I ever retrieve that tennis is entertainment. I emotion playing successful stadiums, particularly erstwhile I win, and I emotion the enactment I get from people.

You precocious donated $50,000 successful enactment of World Mental Health Day. What person you learned astir yourself and your ain intelligence wellness aft traveling for truthful galore years with your ain sports psychologist?

It’s hard to abstracted what I’ve learned from the caller experiences I’ve had and from conscionable increasing up. When I won Roland-Garros I was 19, and that’s a play of beingness erstwhile you larn a batch astir yourself adjacent erstwhile you’re not an athlete. I consciousness similar determination is simply a beauteous brainsick premix betwixt my idiosyncratic and enactment beingness due to the fact that being an jock is simply a 24-hour job. But I wouldn’t alteration this acquisition for thing due to the fact that I deliberation it gave maine a batch of cognition astir myself and contented that I tin usage aboriginal successful life.

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