Iga Swiatek made history at the French Open as she became the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam title. Though the 19-year-old always had pretty lofty dreams, winning the title at Roland Garros has taken some time sinking.
“Basically I was in shock for the next three days,” Swiatek told BBC in an interview in Poland. “I couldn’t tell you my emotions, because even I don’t understand them.”
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She entered the French Open ranked 54 in the world and finished it as the lowest-ranked champion in Roland Garros history. Swiatek also became the only the second unseeded player, since Jelena Ostapenko three years ago, to win the French Open crown.
Playing smart and hitting confidently, Swiatek blew the competition out of the water. She didn’t drop more than five games in any of her seven matches during the fortnight – including the final where she beat the Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1.
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“It’s pretty crazy here. I feel like my life changed completely and I’m trying to get used to that. I left a different Poland that I came back to, because right now I’m kind of popular here,” she added.
When asked if she liked the new-found fame, the teenager said, “Right now it’s pretty overwhelming. But actually it’s one of the things I worked for, and I would really appreciate it if I could have some influence on tennis in Poland.”
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Swiatek, the girls’ champion at Wimbledon only two years ago, credits her discipline and success to her father Tomasz, who represented Poland in quadruple sculls at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
“I always wanted to win all four Grand Slams and to have an Olympic medal, and I always thought of it as a dream,” she said. “When I actually won French Open, it stopped like being so distant for me.
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“Before the French Open I actually wanted to do a gap year, or maybe two years, to see how my tennis would develop.
“But right now when I’m starting to be more popular in Poland, and maybe I’m going to be a celebrity or something like that, I don’t think I’m going to have time.”