‘It’s harder to deal with success than losing’

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Iga Swiatek grew to become Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion by beating Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1 to win the 2020 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 30 Could-13 June
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There’s a image of Rafael Nadal hanging on the wall together with one in all his signed shirts – it is a fairly extraordinary teenaged tennis fan’s bed room.

There may be additionally a French Open trophy.

As a result of, should you ask Iga Swiatek the place she retains the silverware from her maiden main win in 2020, there actually is just one appropriate place.

“It is sort of humorous as a result of I gained a Grand Slam and I am competing each week on tour, however you already know, I am a teen and it is in my room in my dad’s home as a result of I nonetheless have not moved out,” the Polish 19-year-old tells BBC Sport.

“It is a distinction nevertheless it reveals that we’re human. My trophy stays there and it most likely nonetheless will after I transfer out as a result of that is the fitting place and it reveals how a lot my mother and father have executed since I used to be a child.”

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the tennis calendar implies that Swiatek can be defending her title subsequent week simply seven months after successful it, quite than a 12 months later.

Having gained admirers for her cool head on her strategy to successful the Roland Garros title with out dropping a set, it’s unsurprising that she is taking this in her stride too.

“If you win a Grand Slam everyone will all the time do not forget that you gained a Grand Slam,” she says. “I do not consider it like I’ve to defend the trophy and win the French Open as a result of what I did is all the time going to be with me.”

‘More durable to take care of success than dropping’

Swiatek was the world quantity 54 when she grew to become the lowest-ranked lady to win the French Open title.

Subsequent week she is going to go into the match ranked a career-high ninth on the earth, with two extra titles to her title – together with this month’s Italian Open – and with a higher weight of expectation.

She has usually attributed a few of her Roland Garros success to her work together with her sports activities psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, and that was who she turned to after the victory that “fully modified” her life.

“Daria helped me lots with all of the expectations and all of the stuff that was bothering me after the French Open as a result of really I realised that generally it is more durable to take care of success than the occasions you might be dropping,” Swiatek says.

“Generally with my very own expectations it is onerous however then I’ve to remind myself that I simply need to give attention to work and simply keep in mind why I play tennis and have enjoyable on court docket as a result of generally I really feel like I am not enjoying for myself and that is not factor.

“I simply have to seek out that area the place I simply calm myself and remind myself that hopefully in two years I am simply going to be continuously in that temper after I simply don’t be concerned and I am simply having enjoyable as a result of I feel that is what the most important champions do, they only do not care they usually simply play and give attention to their job.”

And if she wants any extra tips about how you can take care of the stress of being a defending champion, she will flip to her good good friend and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka.

“Naomi texted me after the French Open to say if I want something then I can all the time ask her and he or she would perceive completely as a result of she has been in a scenario like that,” she says. “It is good to know you’ve got the choice.”

Desires of successful a special Grand Slam

Iga swiatek with the 2018 junior wimbledon trophy
Swiatek gained the 2018 junior Wimbledon title

There have been 12 totally different names on the previous 16 girls’s Grand Slam singles trophies, and the final feminine participant to efficiently defend a significant singles title was Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016.

“It is onerous to be defending champion for certain, particularly in girls’s tennis – I feel with all of the champions we sort of lack a consistency for slightly bit,” Swiatek mentioned.

So, would she quite win a special Grand Slam than defend her French title?

“I want I had issues like that,” she laughs.

“I feel it will be good to win one other Grand Slam as a result of I do know I can play on clay court docket however for the previous few years I used to be making an attempt to enhance my sport on onerous courts, and it is going fairly properly and it will be a pleasant affirmation to me that I am doing an important job.

“But additionally successful on grass can be fairly loopy for me as a result of regardless that I gained junior Wimbledon [in 2018], I nonetheless do not perceive that floor very properly, so that will be actually loopy however I’d like to win Wimbledon.”

There may be additionally the extra chance of Olympic success this summer season, one thing which might have added significance for Swiatek, whose dad Tomasz rowed on the 1988 Seoul Video games.

“For me it is a vital aim for this 12 months,” she says. “For certain [having an Olympian dad] modified my perspective as a result of after I was youthful I heard tales of his expertise there.

“I hope he’s going to be there however due to Covid it is onerous to have as many individuals round you at tournaments, however his expertise for certain would assist so we’re going to attempt to see how we’ll deal with that.”

If her dad has to remain at house, he can at the least take care of these trophies in his daughter’s room – and the Nadal memorabilia, even when Swiatek wonders what the Spanish 20-time Grand Slam champion himself would make of it.

“It is sort of creepy,” she mentioned. “However I hope he does not discover it that method!”

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