Swiatek: I won't doubt my strength again

 - Chris Oddo

The Pole learned a lot about herself during her successful title defence at Roland-Garros

Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2023, trophy, locker room© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Barely 22 years old and on top of the tennis world, Iga Swiatek continues to learn about her tremendous capacities.

On Saturday in Paris, after she battled past Karolina Muchova in a thrilling 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 triumph in Court Philippe-Chatrier, the Pole expressed the satisfaction she felt upon conducting another memorable and successful clay-court season.

Swiatek, who became the youngest woman to win consecutive titles at Roland-Garros since Monica Seles in 1992, is now one of three active players to own four or more Grand Slam titles, alongside Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka.

How did she feel, precisely, when her fourth Grand Slam title was won?

"I don't know what I felt," Swiatek told a crowded press room two hours after hoisting the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen for the third time. "It's hard to describe. But a lot of happiness. I felt suddenly tired of these three weeks. Maybe my matches weren't like physically exhausting, but it's pretty hard to kind of keep your focus for these almost three weeks.

"And also the whole [clay court] swing. Since Stuttgart I haven't been home. So I'm happy that I finished the whole clay court swing so well, and that I kind of survived.

"I guess I'm never going to kind of doubt my strength again maybe because of that."

Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2023, final© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

A blank canvas

Asked by a reporter what she'd like to achieve next in her already storied career, Swiatek declined to give a definitive answer, saying instead that the she only plans to continue on the path of self-improvement.

"I'm not really looking that far," she said. "I'm just happy with what happened during these past few weeks. I don't know what I'm capable of."

Some believe that the Iga Era may have well and truly begun in Paris, where the Pole owns a 28-2 lifetime record with titles in three of her five appearances on the Parisian clay.

But Swiatek isn't focused on a number - she's only focused on getting the best from her tennis.

"I will work day by day to play best game possible and to develop as a player," she said. "I'm not setting like any crazy records or goals for myself. I know that keeping it cool is the best way to do it for me - I'm trying more to do that."

Intuition as a guide

Tasked with fighting off Muchova after squandering a lead and losing the second set, Swiatek had to play a deciding set in a Grand Slam final for the first time in her career.

Shaking off the frustration of a disappointing middle set, Swiatek says she just tried to knuckle down and trust her instincts.

"Honestly, this match was like so long, with so many ups and downs," she said. "I kind of stopped thinking about the score. I wanted to use my intuition more, because I knew that I can play a little bit better if I'm going to get a little bit more loosened up.

"It helped, for sure, in the third set - I just kind of felt like I need to be more courageous and make some good decisions."

Iga Swiatek, Karolina Muchova, Roland-Garros 2023, final© Andre Ferreira/FFT