PARIS -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek cemented her status at the top of the women's game on Saturday after winning her second major title at Roland Garros. Swiatek's 6-1, 6-3 victory over Coco Gauff was her 35th consecutive win and notched a sixth straight title, bringing the 21-year-old Pole's career title count to nine.
Swiatek has tried to ignore the numbers surrounding her three-month unbeaten run, but No.35 meant more than she had let on. The victory meant she had amassed a longer winning streak than 23-time major champion Serena Williams, who ran off 34 wins in 2013. It also tied Swiatek with Venus Williams for the longest streak in the 2000s.
"I think honestly, it may seem pretty weird, but having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it's something special," Swiatek told reporters. "Because I always wanted to have some kind of a record. In tennis, it's pretty hard after Serena's career. So basically that really hit me."
4.7 - Iga #Swiatek has lost 4.7 games on average per match in her 10 WTA-level finals: she is the player with the lowest games-lost ratio in finals since 2000 (min. 10 finals). Unbelievable.@WTA @WTA_insider https://t.co/SG6u4JRXvA pic.twitter.com/oVGN67B3hg— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 4, 2022
Barely into the sixth month of the year, the 21-year-old is already putting together one of the most dominant seasons of the 21st century. She has already tallied more wins than in any of her previous seasons and the victories have come with unassailable score lines. She has won 56 of her past 58 sets of tennis and still has not lost more than five games in her past nine finals on tour.
So what's next for Iga? Swiatek joined the WTA Insider Podcast after her French Open win and revealed her plans: snacks, rest and figuring out what else she needs to prove.
WTA Insider: What was the most difficult thing about this title run?
Swiatek: I would say just dealing with these days off. They seemed pretty long and a lot of times I faced some doubts. Also, I was feeling the pressure more when I was off court and when I had a day off, more than when I was with the media or with the fans. So I'm pretty happy that I had someone to talk to and my team was supportive with that.
Also that fourth-round match was pretty hard because it didn't happen often when I actually let go of a set that I led 5-2. It doesn't happen often and I was like, 'Whoa, what's going on'? I'm pretty happy I worked through that.
6 - Iga #Swiatek has equalled the record of consecutive tournaments won in the 2000s (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and Roland Garros) after Venus Williams in 2000 and Justine Henin in 2007-2008. Musketeers.@WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/4ZG4E3p8pC— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 4, 2022
WTA Insider: You said in Rome that the sky is the limit. When the sky is the limit, how do you set expectations?
Swiatek: Basically when I won Rome, I felt the sky's the limit. But when I came here, I felt like maybe third round is the limit (laughs). So it all changes.
For sure when I win it's easier to think that way. When I face some obstacles, sometimes I get the feeling that the streak may come to an end. But I'm pretty happy with how I approached these kinds of things and I kind of accept that and I'm ready for it. But I'm more ready to put my work there and to give 100% to not let it happen.
Honestly, coming here I didn't like a lot of expectations because I felt not that many players have won that many matches, so it would be pretty obvious for me to lose at some point at this tournament. But I just took it step-by-step. Day by day I lived and did my best and it happened.
WTA Insider: You said you weren't looking at stats during your streak, but you were aware of one stat. With 35 wins you tied Venus Williams for the most consecutive wins since 2000 and you have one more than Serena's streak of 34. Why was that a target and how did that help you to have something to chase?
Swiatek: Honestly, it wasn't my target. I felt like I don't have full control over doing that so I really didn't want it to be my goal. But after the match I checked. Doing something better than Serena kind of, it's the best thing you can get in tennis, basically, after what she's done for so many years. No one is going to take it from me, you know? I'm pretty happy I could achieve that and I don't even know how that happened, honestly. It's all pretty weird.
┳┻|— wta (@WTA) June 4, 2022
┻┳| •.•) only djokovic and federer have
┳┻|⊂ﾉ won more consecutive matches
┻┳| than swiatek this century
WTA Insider: You've said that grass isn't your most comfortable surface. Winning Roland Garros, is that closing a chapter on the streak or are you taking it into the grass season?
Swiatek: I think when I'm going to start Wimbledon I'm just going to think about getting through the first matches. I won't think about the streak because I know it's not helping me. I did the same here and I know how to separate my mind from that and focus on tennis.
But right now for sure, I can think about that a little bit more and I would love to add some matches to that streak. But I feel that chapter is closed for sure for clay season, but also after the Sunshine Double I didn't really have a lot of time to rest and I really want to rest right now after Roland Garros. Because back then I was like I'll have three days off, but I couldn't really stop thinking about the season. Right now I think I will have more time and I really want to do my best at resting.
WTA Insider: What do you want to do?
Swiatek: Honestly, not forcing myself to get motivated again and not getting pumped up. Just chilling out and not thinking about competition. I think it's gonna be enough for my brain to rest because I've been in a competition for so many days that just this, I'm going to enjoy it. It doesn't have to be something special. I'm not a party person.
WTA Insider: What is closer to being redlined right now, your on-court game or your mental game?
Swiatek: I would say in this tournament, mentally maybe I was redlining because I didn't recharge properly after Rome, I feel. I've been doing too many things off-court and I wasn't completely fresh mentally before the tournament started. I thought I would be able to get some rest between the matches, which I did at the beginning of the tournament, so that was cool. Then these days off became pretty horrible because I was thinking about the next matches and I couldn't really relax.
But physically, I think it's helpful that I tried to be as efficient as possible and make the matches short. Here I only had one match over two hours. Maybe if I had more maybe I'd be redlining. But physically I feel good. That's also something weird. I'm working and we're doing our best to get good regeneration. But still ... I don't know. I guess my physio is a magician.
WTA Insider: You seem surprised that you're doing all this without redlining.
Swiatek: Yeah. Honestly, for me, all the technical stuff, I don't how to plan the practices. I don't know what my body is capable of because how would I know? I'm really happy I have people who are planning everything properly because without that, I wouldn't be here. The hardest thing I would say in sports is to plan things so that your body is going to cope.
WTA Insider: When you're at the top of the mountain, are you chasing anything? Is there anything or anyone you put as the standard to motivate you to elevate your game?
Swiatek: I think I wasn't 100% conscious of that but I think I was always chasing that second Grand Slam because I always thought, 'OK, the first one happened, but the second one is confirmation that you actually know what you're doing.' I always had huge respect for Garbiñe, Simona, there are a lot of players who won two. All these girls showed consistency throughout so many years and they were able to win two times or even more. I felt like two times winning a Grand Slam, you're really confirming you're able to do that. So I was chasing that a little bit.
Now, I don't know what I'm going to chase. Probably I'm going to chase some good snacks today, that's all.