Swiatek: Still surging, still improving

The three-time champion is a winning work in progress

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2024©️Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Chris Oddo

Two years ago, Iga Swiatek was in the midst of a career-changing 37-match winning streak in Paris, and the Polish juggernaut did not skip a single beat as she dropped just one set en route to her second of three Roland-Garros titles.

Fast forward to 2024, and once again the world No.1 is riding a hot hand into the Paris fortnight. A winner of 12 consecutive matches, and 38 of 42 overall on the season, this year’s Madrid and Rome champion says she is even more dangerous now. 

“I think I'm a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek told reporters on Friday. “I feel like I'm progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player.” 

Asked to compare this year’s version of the Swiatek express to the 2022 version, the 22-year-old elaborated, saying that she doesn’t feel like she is able to take the tour by surprise anymore. 

“Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it,” she said. “When the streak started, I wasn't even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes.” 

Iga Swiatek, practice, Roland-Garros 2024©️Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Two years on from that dominant season, the tour is better prepared for her. That's what Swiatek believes, and why she doesn't rest in her quest for success.

“Now it's different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I'm No. 1,” she said. “So I think actually I'm more proud of what's happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.” 

Despite the persistent challenges from other top forces like No.2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and fourth-ranked Elena Rybakina, Swiatek has managed to stay at the top of the rankings and even expand the gap between herself and the rest of the field. Next week in Paris, she will begin her bid to become the first woman to complete a successful three-peat at Roland-Garros since Justine Henin in 2007. 

“I'm more happy with my results now, I would say,” she said. 

The serve adds another layer 

Never one to rest on her laurels, Swiatek continues to search for ways to strengthen her game. 

In 2024 the central theme has been the serve. Looking for more ways to impose herself on the opposition, Swiatek changed her serve technique at the start of the season. Five months on, she feels she is beginning to reap the rewards. 

“Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster,” she said. “We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I'm serving.” 

Swiatek referred to her performance in Rome, where she saved all seven break points she faced against Sabalenka in the final, and 18 of the last 19 break points she faced overall. 

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve,” she said. “So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. 

“Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We'll see how that's going to go. But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I'm going to be serving the same way.”