When Iga Swiatek is on a roll, watch out. The 19-year-old phenom on Saturday captured her first hardcourt title and second career title overall, defeating No.2 seed Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-2 to win the Adelaide International. Much like her stunning run to the Roland Garros title last fall, Swiatek did not lose a set and dropped an average of less than five games en route her first WTA 500 title.
"I feel like sometimes I have weeks when everything clicks, and that's just the effect of the work we're doing," Swiatek told reporters after the final. "It's impossible to play at the same level for the whole season. I'm really happy I have weeks like that and I can win tournaments."
Swiatek proved a tough problem to solve throughout her week in Adelaide, tallying wins over Madison Brengle, Maddison Inglis, Danielle Collins, Jil Teichmann and Bencic.
Having practiced with Swiatek in Adelaide, Bencic described Swiatek's game as "unique" and, when it was on the way it was in Adelaide, "overwhelming."
"First of all it's the unpredictable-ness," Bencic said. "I think she plays everything just a little bit different than I expect. So not the usual patterns which you would expect. I think I'm a pretty good anticipator. But today it was a little bit off, of course, thanks to her game.
"Then I think she plays definitely with much more spin and heaviness. Also the balls you think you can reach are just jumping over you. It makes it harder to make a defense, to kind of counter-punch."
Swiatek joined the WTA Insider Podcast after her Adelaide triumph to reflect on her winning week, which included a healthy dose of intricate Lego construction during her downtime, and a Polish fan base that kept growing with every win.
Listen to the full WTA Insider Podcast interview below:
WTA Insider: What do you think was the key to your successful week?
Swiatek: Just basically, as usual. Keeping my routines and treating every match and every point actually the same way, just focusing on the details, I would say that's kind of the key to every tournament that I play well.
I'm really happy how my performance went the whole week. I felt better and better every match and that's really important for me and really confident for sure. I'm really happy and excited for the future.
WTA Insider: You had not made a hardcourt quarterfinal before Adelaide. What does this week teach you about your game on hardcourts?
Swiatek: That's actually kind of interesting because, from the beginning of my junior career, my coach always said that even though I'm feeling most comfortable on clay court, I'm also a great player on hardcourt, and there's not a huge difference between my level there and hardcourts. I also had some success in juniors, for example, Traralgon in 2017. I have good memories of being in Australia.
I don't think the surface really has a huge impact. When I'm feeling good physically and mentally, I can win anywhere. Also, Junior Wimbledon [Swiatek won in 2018] kind of showed that.
I'm kind of lucky that I can adjust to the surface and play my best tennis anywhere. We're going to see how it's going to go in the future, but right now it is like that so I'm really happy.
WTA Insider: Do you consider yourself a triple threat?
Swiatek: Not yet, because I'm not really confident on the grass, I'm going to be working on that this year and maybe next year. I would say if I'm considering myself a threat, I would say it's just on the court. Basically, it doesn't matter which surface. But I've never actually thought about myself as a threat.
WTA Insider: In both of your two title runs, you won without losing a set. You have had these dominant runs in your junior career and on the ITF level as well. What do you think these dominant runs say about your game?
Swiatek: I'm really happy that I'm that kind of player and I'm powerful because mentally, it gives a lot and it also puts pressure on my opponents. Our next goal would be to have that situation more often and aim to the specific tournaments that we want to win during the season. We're going to be working on that.
But I'm really happy that it's the second time in the past six months that I can feel perfectly on court for the whole week or two weeks.
WTA Insider: Belinda Bencic said she found your game unique and unpredictable. She struggled to read your patterns of play. You spoke in your press conference about liking non-mainstream things off the court. Do you think the fact that you are drawn to non-traditional things impacts how you play tennis?
Swiatek: It's hard to compare to other players because I don't actually know how they are seeing the game. So maybe being not mainstream off the court helps me to be different during the game.
But I would say that it's all about intuition because I remember that I was also unpredictable when I was younger on court. And also right now, I'm playing a lot with my intuition. We're trying to implement more tactics and I'm trying to stick more to the tactics.
But my intuition is actually to be unpredictable, sometimes also to myself.
WTA Insider: In an interview with your sports psychologist, she said that when you were still in school you would do math homework before matches and that it would calm your mind. Now that you're out of school, what have you found to replace that?
Swiatek: Actually, it's better right now because school also gave me the pressure and the feeling that I have many more obligations. Right now we can switch to more things that are comfortable for me.
Daria had this idea to do some models and Legos, and I think it works perfectly for my mind because I'm this kind of person who just likes to think logically and construct. Because when you actually do math, you're like doing everything by the rules and formulas. My brain works like that and I like to have other things to do except tennis, so it is perfect for me.
WTA Insider: So you love rules and formulas, but the way you play your tennis or your love of jazz music, would seem to indicate someone who likes to break traditional rules. How do you reconcile those two sides of yourself?
Swiatek: From that perspective, yeah, you can say that I'm kind of unpredictable on court. But also you have so many rules in tennis that you just can't break. The court is just basic geometry. So I think it has a lot of impact. But about jazz, I've never considered music as something that should have rules and should have patterns. So I appreciate something different.
But, yeah, everything that makes logical sense is really good for me.
WTA Insider: You've been posting a lot about your intricate Lego sets during the tournament. What's more difficult: Constructing points or constructing Legos?
Swiatek: That's funny. I don't know. When I feel OK and when I'm feeling comfortable in court, I would say it's better on court because it gives me more satisfaction.
But, you know, I have weeks where I can't really construct a point perfectly, so then Legos.
WTA Insider: The fan support in Adelaide was incredible. What was it like for you to be on the receiving end of that, because you haven't seen it since winning Roland Garros?
Swiatek: It's amazing. I never knew there were so many people from the Polish community here in Adelaide. It's kind of a surprise for me. I'm going to be aware of that next year when I come back. I feel more at home here. So it's amazing and they're giving a lot of energy. The most important part of the tournament is just me being on the court and it gives a lot for my performance because, you know, between points you hear the people screaming and you know that you're doing a good job. So, yeah, I'm really happy that he went that way and they were here.