Iga Swiatek won't be using her new surfboard anytime soon, but the San Diego Open champion will still tap into the relaxed vibe that allowed her to cruise to her eighth title of the season. Coming off an emotional and grueling week in Ostrava, Swiatek tallied two more Top 10 wins in San Diego before defeating Donna Vekic 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in Sunday's final.
Swiatek, who was gifted a surfboard, during the trophy ceremony, is now 24-1 on U.S. soil this season, where she also won in Indian Wells, Miami, the US Open. With the WTA Finals being hosted in the United States for the first time in 17 years, the 21-year-old has timed her American success perfectly.
"The Finals, I think, is going to be the most intense tournament of the season, playing against the top players from Day 1," Swiatek told WTA Insider after her San Diego win. "We'll get back to intense practicing when we get to Dallas, but I'll have a few days in Florida to get into the rhythm before going."
The World No.1 Swiatek spoke to WTA Insider from San Diego to discuss her new "go with the flow" approach, how she's managed to keep her energy and focus at the end of her season, and why she'll be in top shape for her final tournament at the season at the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
WTA Insider: At the start of the week you said you came to San Diego to see how you would handle the jet lag, quick turnaround and change in conditions. What was the key to managing all that?
Swiatek: The key for sure was adjusting and focusing on the right things because I felt I had some obstacles to face, but at the same time I didn't want to waste energy over-analyzing that. I felt better day by day and I feel like I used that yesterday against Jessie [Pegula] and [Sunday]. I problem-solved again, so I'm really proud of that because I feel like these were tight matches and in the end I had this idea that I could do it differently and it worked.
WTA Insider: You've talked about not wanting to over-analyze things this week. As a player who's seen as highly analytical, why have you decided to pivot from that?
Swiatek: I don't know, I just realized that it's working and it's not fun to always think about stuff. I just accepted that sometimes it's going to happen. I'm just getting more sure that I have skills on court that I can come back from any situation.
This season, playing in different conditions and sometimes coming back, playing really long matches or even keeping your focus and being sharp in these short matches, it really gave me the confidence that I can use all these skills. I really feel I can face anything right now, you know? Hopefully this feeling is going to stay for a long time.
WTA Insider: Tennis players are notorious for being perfectionists. How do you manage that impulse?
Swiatek: I kind of stopped thinking that way. The goal is not playing or feeling perfectly, but winning when you're not feeling perfect, or winning when you're not comfortable on court and you can't play with your intuition. You have to always change something. That is the key in tennis because we have so many conditions throughout the whole season, different balls, different racquet tensions.
Finding that perfect feeling is really hard. I feel like I had it maybe twice this season and that's still a lot. On the other tournaments it's just working through the times when you're not feeling perfect.
WTA Insider: At the end of last season, you said you were curious if you would have a physical or mental hangover from the late finish. At the late stages of this season you're still playing with incredible energy, focus and motivation. How do you explain it?
Swiatek: I think having a little bit of a different team with Tomasz [Wiktorowski] by my side, who's really experienced. He knows how exhausting it is being on tour. He knows how to give me more time to give me to reset after Grand Slams, for example. I think this probably is the key.
The coach is usually the person at the end who decides how much break I'm going to get and I'm really grateful that he's giving me a lot of them. Someone may think that I'm 21 and I don't need to rest that much, but the season is so long and intense that with the planning that we're doing right now with Tomasz and Maciej Ryszczuk [fitness trainer and physio], we're really doing a great job. And Daria [Abramowicz] adds her views and says where I should put photo shoots or stay in bed and not think about the business side of sports.
Without them, I wouldn't be able to be in that place. I'm really happy that I have really good people guiding me because I think that's the most important thing at this top level because everything matters.
WTA Insider: What's next for you?
Swiatek: For sure getting a few days off is nice. These two weeks, with the tournament in Ostrava, which was super intense and two matches where one was over three hours and one was almost three hours, I feel like I need these days off. Just not going to think about tennis for a few days to refuel and get more energy before the Finals.