Swiatek eager to stand alone

The world No.1 stormed to a three-peat title defence at Roland-Garros 2024

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2024©Clément Mahoudeau / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Iga Swiatek is already being spoken about in the same conversation as true icons of the sport. The 23-year-old is the dominant force in women's tennis and proved that once again in Paris. Lifting the Suzanne-Lenglen cup for a fourth time, the Pole became just the second woman in the Open Era to win their first five Grand Slam finals, matching Monica Seles.

Reaching five majors, Swiatek draws level with a calibre of player such as Maria Sharapova in the all-time roster. 

Swiatek's Roland-Garros reign continues to break records and break the resolve of opponents – which was a pretty frequent pattern for Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. 

The iconic duo handed the trophy to the world No.1 on Court Philippe-Chatrier following a flawless 6-2, 6-1 passage past Jasmine Paolini

Whether it's Seles, Sharapova, Evert or Navratiova, Swiatek is moving into that bracket with almighty velocity.

Swiatek prefers to stand alone.

Martina Navratilova Iga Swiatek Chris Evert Roland-Garros 2024©Loïc Wacziak / FFT

"I haven't seen them (Evert and Navratilova) live as I wasn't born yet, but I've seen some highlights on YouTube, they're really impressive and I know their records, but I'm not comparing myself to anybody," stated Swiatek in Paris. 

"I look at their story as separate, their story and it's really impressive and inspiring."

During TV brodcasts at Roland-Garros, record seven-time singles champion Evert claimed that her tally is under threat from the Pole's near-perfect clay court artillery, that reaching 10 or more is a realistic target on the terre battue. 

"It's nice to hear this about myself. I'm not thinking about myself in these categories. Even being here, reaching five Slams, it seems pretty surreal and I would never have expected this when I was younger," continued the 23-year-old. 

"Getting to double digits here sounds like a long shot, but I'll for sure work for it. You can expect I'll do my best to become a better and better player every year, to try and play my best tennis here. Hearing this from Chrissie is great, I'm really grateful for her words."

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The modern greats including Swiatek's idol Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have all continued to compete at the top table well into their late 30s, and even in to their 40s. 

Swiatek is relaxed about a prolonged pursuit of majors at the peak of the sport. 

"Those players are so impressive. I think modern preparations, what athletes are better at these days in practice, mental preparation, I so think it is going to be possible to for us to play longer and longer," suggested the Pole.

"Sometimes I have the feeling, 'Oh my god, I'm going to play until I'm 28 and then I'm gonna be done, but sometimes I'm like 'I love tennis, I'm going to play until I die.' 

"I don't have any plans yet, I don't think it makes sense to plan that.  

"I saw some of the Legends tournament here and I thought 'will I even have the energy to come back to play that or not?. You never know!"

Away from the talk of champions and legacy, the self-described introvert wants to head home to Warsaw to recharge, to spend time with her nearest and dearest, to truly appreciate her awesome achievement. 

"For sure take some time to be proud of myself," said Swiatek. "I just want to do normal stuff, clean up the house, stuff I don't have to think about, I don’t have to worry.

"I've been in hotels for so long, I want to get myself breakfast, have a home routine, see my family."

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2024©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Soon enough Wimbledon will be round the corner, where the world No.1 is still searching for the answers to dominate on the pristine lawns of south west London.

This season the Pole has been working on a slightly abbreviated serve, with a shorter, yet smoother motion. It's worked a dream in Paris and could be a real weapon at The All England Club later this month, to help dictate the zippy, sharp points.  

"I had this idea to do some of my off-season on the grass, but it doesn't really make sense with all these hard court tournaments at the start of the year. It was just an idea which was quickly stopped by my coach," joked Swiatek, who chalked up a Wimbledon best quarter-final run last summer

"I think competing at Wimbledon every year and practising those few weeks before, makes you progress on grass any way. Every year when I go there it becomes easier to transition, easier to adapt. 

"I think it's possible for me to use the progress I've been having on my serve this year on grass. We'll see."