At Roland-Garros, Iga Swiatek extends his reign

Usually, when a monarch is crowned, cannon shots punctuate the celebration. In Paris, a few claps of thunder served for the coronation of Iga Swiatek, Saturday, June 4. While across the Channel a crowned head celebrates her platinum jubilee this weekend, the young Pole has established herself as queen of her discipline. Winner of the young American Cori Gauff in the final (6-1, 6-3) in just over an hour of play, the world number 1 won the Parisian Grand Slam tournament for the second time.

Relive the encounter: Roland-Garros: relive the second coronation of Iga Swiatek Porte d’Auteuil, at the expense of Cori Gauff

Landed at Porte d’Auteuil with the sign of favorite, Iga Swiatek assumed the weight. She, who had won the fall 2020 edition – pandemic obliges – to everyone’s surprise did not advance in the shadows this time. “I worked a lot to be able to win again here. It was difficult, the pressure was enormous”admitted the Pole after lifting the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup.

“In 2020, I felt confused, because I didn’t really think I could win a Grand Slamexplained Iga Swiatek at a press conference. But there, it was different: it’s pure work. All the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. »

Not to be one of the – very many – queens without a future of women’s tennis, the Polish rolled up her sleeves after her first coronation. She is reaping the rewards two years later.

“Something better than Serena Williams”

“I don’t think I faced anyone playing better tennis than Iga today”greeted Cori Gauff after her defeat. “She was just too strong. She does everything very well on the court. »

For the young American, only the Australian Ashleigh Barty rivaled the Polish in terms of intensity and level of play. But since the winner of the last Australian Open chose to abdicate and put away her rackets in the spring ( at 25), Swiatek regained the world number 1 crown. And spread its wings, like the “Orzel bialy”, the white eagle that adorns the coat of arms of Poland.

Read also: In the Roland-Garros final, Iga Swiatek plays more than a title

Since February 22, the native of Warsaw has not lost a single match. Saturday, she chained a thirty-fifth success in a row, equaling the American record Venus Williams – but still far from the absolute record, held by the American Martina Navratilova and her seventy-four victories in a row between 1983 and 1984.

“What I’m most proud of is having done something better than Serena [Williams] », smiled the player. The American with twenty-three Grand Slam titles has not exceeded thirty-four victories in a row. “In tennis, breaking records after Serena is almost impossible. »

The joy of Iga Swiatek after his victory in the final at Roland-Garros, Saturday June 4, 2022.

On Saturday, the Polish girl left little hope for her young opponent. Iga Swiatek has sometimes mentioned a female counterpart to Rafael Nadal – whom she continues to adore. Her hard topspin forehands left Cori Gauff helpless; the Polish turned into a steamroller, asphyxiating her opponent. “Even when I managed to chain the blows, she let nothing pass. There’s a reason she’s been on this winning streak.”acknowledged Gauff.

If the storm rumbled in the distance, just before the end of the game, the thunder came out of Iga Swiatek’s racket. [Iga], it’s dynamite on the ground. When you have dynamite, you can’t play defensive”, pictured his coach Tomasz Wiktorowski, interviewed by Agence France-Presse after the meeting. For the man who has led the world number 1 since the offseason and has chosen to focus on his strengths, “this is only the beginning of this adventure”.

She now lives in the costume of world number 1

Last year, Iga Swiatek met Rafael Nadal at breakfast at the hotel, the day after the Majorcan’s defeat in the semi-finals against Novak Djokovic. “I told him that I had been crying all evening.said the player. But he replied: “It’s just a tennis match, you know, we win, we lose, that’s life.” » The Polish hopes to draw inspiration from “this detachment that great champions like him have”. In view of the way she negotiated her finals, she grasped the essence.

Read also: Roland-Garros: the permanent bustle of the women’s circuit

Because since 2020, there is a general truth in tennis: Iga Swiatek does not lose, once you reach the final. On Saturday, the Pole won her ninth final in as many tournaments – without losing a single set. “I try to approach them like any gameexposed the player, acknowledging that it is not simple. I am also aware that my opponents will be stressed and I try to be a little less than them. »

The player recognized it, she feels “ready for what’s to come next”. The solicitations, the pressure, she has prepared for it and now lives in her world number 1 costume. At the end of her speech, cup in hand, the young woman wanted to “say a few words for Ukraine”, triggering a standing ovation. The one who plays all her matches with a small Ukrainian flag pinned to her cap explains that by taking the lead in the WTA rankings (which governs the women’s circuit) she “felt a kind of injunction to speak up”so she tries to carry “subjects that [lui] really care about.”

Read also: At Roland-Garros, the war in Ukraine divides the circuit

During the tournament, Iga Swiatek attacked the reading of Three Musketeers. Unlike her celerity on the court, this great reader – who recounts the progress of her reading over the course of the circuit, transforming certain press conferences into improvised book clubs – recognized “move slowly” in the work of Alexandre Dumas.

The player, whose shoes bear the mention “team Swiatek”, and who rushed to the stands – as in 2020 – as soon as the match point was played to hug her loved ones, continues to consider tennis as a team sport. . New queen of her discipline, Iga Swiatek hardly needs a close guard of musketeers to defend her. But in this moment, “all for one” could become his motto.

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