PARIS, France -- Rapidly rising Polish teen Iga Swiatek learned valuable lessons from her breakthrough Grand Slam event at Roland Garros, including her challenging loss to defending champion Simona Halep -- and now has to go back to her high school lessons before she continues her ascent on the WTA.
"It's a good experience for me," Swiatek said, following her fourth-round dismissal at the hands of Halep, which ended her exceptional fortnight in Paris. "And I'll remember that match. I'll learn from it even though it lasted, like, 40 minutes."
"I wasn't in that match with my head, you know?" said last year's junior Wimbledon champion Swiatek, who turned 18 on Friday. "I felt like I wasn't controlling anything. But I guess that's because that was my first time playing on a big court, Philippe Chatrier. And I don't know. I guess next time should be better."
— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) June 3, 2019
Before her clash with Halep, Swiatek said she needed to learn from the former World No.1's patience. After the match, Swiatek told the press she learned more valuable lessons.
"Obviously it's different playing with players such as Simona and watching her on TV," Swiatek stated. "So I finally got a chance to feel her game."
"The biggest thing I was surprised about was her ability to play in the direction that I wasn't prepared for," the teenager specified. "I felt like she was going to play cross and she played line, and I wasn't ready for that. So I guess -- I don't know. I guess mentally maybe I wasn't ready. But that's a normal thing, I mean, I'm so young and I'll have a lot of opportunities to learn."
"Everything was different," Swiatek continued. "I mean, watching the player you have always watched on TV, like, your whole childhood, it's just a bit weird. And, well, if I want to play on a level like that and be in fourth round of Grand Slam, I have to get used to that. So, yeah, that was the first time, but there's going to be a lot more matches, so I'll learn from every [one]."
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— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) June 1, 2019
As if to underscore that every tilt is a learning experience for the rising star, Swiatek broke down what she can take away from each of her three wins which pushed her into her first-ever Grand Slam second week.
"Every match I had something to learn," the 18-year-old noted. "On first round, I have to deal with stress. On second round, I had to deal with -- well, on second round, I played very well, and I'm just happy that I managed to have my focus on a top level most of the match. So that was kind of new for me and that was a good experience.
"And third round, I had to come back from 0-6, so that was amazing match also for me. And even though I lost in this match [against Halep], I also learn. So every match was important, and I'm very happy about the tournament."
For now, Swiatek is headed back to Poland, to practice for the grass season -- and to finish her schooling for the year.
"I just have to pass some tests, like, six of them, and then I'm done for the year," said the rising star, who has one more year of high school to complete after this one.
After the grass season, Swiatek will undoubtedly go with the tour to the American hardcourt swing, where it's likely she'll continue a collection she has started: "It's kind of our team thing to buy a hat from every place that we've been in the States," she said, while sporting a Miami Dolphins cap.
"We have L.A., Alabama, Mississippi, and Charleston," the teenager said. "So we have, like, five or six, and we're going to get more from every state!"