Spotlight on Swiatek: Numbers surrounding Pole's success

 - Chris Oddo

From Paris to Poland, the statistical significance of Iga Swiatek’s Roland-Garros title resonates across tennis.

Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros 2020, final, trophy© Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Poland's Iga Swiatek entered Roland-Garros with low expectations, and an even lower ranking. But the world No.54 proved over the Paris fortnight that talent is the great equalizer, and with the right mindset, anything is possible. 

Now that the 19-year-old has wrapped up her stunning run to the title, looks back at the milestones she’s cracked over the last two weeks.

She’s Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion 

Swiatek is the second Polish woman ever to reach the final in Paris, following in the footsteps of 1939 runner-up Jadwiga Jedrzejowska.

With her 6-4, 6-1 win over Sofia Kenin in Saturday's final, she has become the first Grand Slam singles champion in Polish tennis history. Fan favourite Agnieszka Radwanska nearly became Poland's first Grand Slam singles winner in 2012, when she took a set off of Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, and Swiatek paid homage to her today in her press conference. 

“I still think that Radwanska, she achieved a lot because she played on the top level of WTA for, I don't know, 12 years,” Swiatek said. “I know there's going to be a lot of people who are going to compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next couple years for everybody to name me the best player in Poland, because I still have a lot to do. Still, I think that's kind of her place.”

She’s the youngest Roland-Garros women’s singles champion in 28 years 

It’s not very often that teenagers hoist the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen at the end of the Roland-Garros fortnight.

In fact, it has been more than 20 years since it happened. Iva Majoli, the Roland-Garros champion in 1997, was the last teenager to win the women’s singles title in Paris, but at 19 years and 132 days old, 2020 champion Swiatek has become youngest titlist on the women’s side in Paris since Monica Seles in 1992. 

Swiatek is one of just four teenagers - along with Kim Clijsters in 2001, Ana Ivanovic in 2007 and Marketa Vondrousova in 2019 - to have played the final since 2000, and the only one to triumph. 

She's the lowest-ranked RG women's singles champion 

Swiatek is just one of seven unseeded Roland-Garros women’s singles finalists in the Open Era, and she’s one of two unseeded champions, along with Jelena Ostapenko, who won the title in 2017 while ranked 47 in the world. 

With her current ranking of 54, Swiatek is the lowest-ranked women’s singles champion in Roland-Garros history (since the rankings were introduced in 1975). 

“On one hand it's pretty inspiring,” Swiatek said of her improbable run to the title. “Sometimes I caught myself visualising that I'm also winning a Grand Slam. But on the other hand it was also really far away. Right now when I'm here and I'm a Grand Slam champion, it's crazy. You believe in things, but in the back of your head you know that there's going to be, like, huge amount of work that you have to do to win that. Then after two weeks of great playing, you already have it. It's just - I don't know - overwhelming.”

She barely dropped games, let alone a set, in Paris

By winning all 14 sets she played - and dropping just 28 games through seven matches - Swiatek becomes the first player to win the women’s singles title in Paris without dropping a set since Justine Henin claimed her fourth and final title in 2007

Swiatek dropped a 6-1 set on her opponent in six of her seven matches and never lost more than four games in a set, doing that only twice. 

It was her authoritative tennis that earned her those lopsided scorelines. Swiatek cracked 175 winners and broke serve 38 times. The 19-year-old also won 57 of 73 (78 per cent) points at the net and spent only eight hours and 24 minutes on court in her seven matches. 

Hello, top 20 

A top-20 debut is in the offing for the 19-year-old.

Swiatek, whose ranking previously peaked at 48 on February 3rd of 2020, is projected to jump 37 spots to No.17 in the world in Monday's WTA rankings, and will surpass Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff to become the highest-ranked teenager on tour at the moment. 

Swiatek started 2019 ranked at 175 in the world, and had just cracked the top 300 for the first time a little over two years ago. 

Iga Swiatek and her team, Roland Garros 2020, locker room trophy shoot© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT