NEW YORK -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek has won two major titles this season under starkly contrasting circumstances. In the midst of her 37-match win streak at Roland Garros, Swiatek was the overwhelming favorite to win. At the US Open, not even Swiatek rated her title chances.
"I don't know if it's more [satisfying] than the second win on Roland Garros because I feel like back then the pressure was really on and everybody was kind of expecting me to win," Swiatek told reporters after defeating Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6(5) in Saturday's final.
"Here I managed to keep my expectations lower, and also I feel like people were not expecting a lot from me on hard court. So mentally I think Roland Garros was a little bit tougher. But tennis-wise and physically, here for sure it was tougher."
As Swiatek's numbers grow, so does her aura. Swiatek had barely given her victory speech before the International Tennis Hall of Fame tweeted that she was now eligible for first-ballot induction upon her retirement.
With 13+ weeks as @wta world no. 1 and her 3️⃣rd major title, @iga_swiatek is now an automatic inclusion on her first eligible International Tennis Hall of Fame ballot, 5 years after retirement. 🤩👏 https://t.co/dNkP0XxVLT— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) September 10, 2022
By winning the US Open, Swiatek, 21, became the youngest three-time Slam champion in 14 years. She has won 20 consecutive sets in tournament finals. The US Open was her seventh title of the season, the first player to reach that numbers on the Hologic WTA Tour since Serena Williams in 2014.
Swiatek joined the WTA Insider Podcast to discuss her educational fortnight, the lessons she's learned from Serena, and why she might not be ready to target a career Grand Slam. Yet.
Listen to Swiatek's full interview on the WTA Insider Podcast below:
Here are some of the highlights:
On the doubts she had going into New York
Mostly I didn't feel well tennis-wise on court. I felt like it was hard for me to adjust and get used to the conditions here and these balls with my grip, which is a western grip. It's harder to close my forehand. With the balls that are light and flying away, also in hot temperatures, it's sometimes hard. From the beginning, I felt it was going to be a real challenge because I also felt that sometimes I don't have much control in Toronto and Cincinnati.
On being surprised by her title run
When I came here I was just focused on learning; and not really learning for this tournament, but for future years. So I wasn't really focused on the result here. I didn't expect a lot because of that, which actually helped me. I wasn't expecting to play well. That's why I was surprised.
On the moment her game clicked into place
I think at the end of the match with Jule [Niemeier] because I realized that I can play a little bit slower and have more control. And even though it's a fast surface, not to expect every shot to be a winner or be really aggressive with every shot. I found that balance a little bit.
The next match I could choose between playing that safer style and choosing to be more aggressive in important moments. It was much much easier to be aggressive when the previous points were just solid and good. I had that confidence and I didn't doubt myself that much.
At the end, I had both of these things so I think that's why I won.
On the cumulative pressure she's built on the tour
I feel it. I feel like it's not every time that I can make use of it. This is the thing that Serena really showed how to do. Because she was at the top for a long time and she was using that pressure and intimidation of being at the top of the game. She used it pretty well to make her matches a little bit easier, especially at the beginning.
I feel like I was able to do that a couple of times, but I want to do it more often. So for sure I'm aware of that and I want to try and use it in the right way.
On her improved ability to find solutions on court
I think it's not only about having solutions but being able to find them in the right moments. I see much more difference in my emotional state after I lose a set right now compared to how it was a couple of years ago. I'm able to process a little bit more and find these solutions. When I can find them I have more confidence that it's going to work because I have more skills tennis-wise.
Being able to control my emotions a little bit more and not panic as much on court, I'm really grateful for because I've been working with Daria [Abramowicz] for such a long time and I feel like it really paid off in those important matches and it's an important process. So this mental part really complements itself with the technical and tactical stuff that I improved with Tomasz [Wiktorowski].
On targeting a career Grand Slam
I guess it was always kind of my dream, but still, I'm not going to really focus on it because you can see in tennis that some things happen when you don't expect them. So I'm just going to learn and focus on the process.
But for sure I always said it's the dream. But I still feel like I need more skills on grass to make it a goal.
On her mindset for the remainder of the season
I'm happy that I don't have to be in the Race because I'm pretty safe with the points that I have. It's a totally different situation than last year.
So for sure I want to use that time to work on some technical stuff, especially because we're going to have a couple of weeks of just practicing. I think it's going to be a nice time for me to settle with all the things that happened this season and get this solid work. I've been practicing a lot right now but it was still in between tournaments. It's not like you can do so much in a mini-preseason period. So I'm for sure going to use that time.