Even as Iga Swiatek ascended the ladder of elite women’s tennis, she downplayed the weight of expectation.

For the first time in her 62-week reign as the Hologic WTA Tour’s No.1 player, that ranking could have been wrested away during at some point during Roland Garros.

“I didn’t even know about that,” she told reporters earlier in the event. “It doesn’t change a lot for me.”

Swiatek dropped only eight games in her first three matches, which included four 6-0 set pieces. Through six matches, only Beatriz Haddad Maia managed to get more than four games -- and she lost that one in a tiebreak.

French Open finals reaction

And then, in a remarkable final against Karolina Muchova, that deep, penetrating pressure was suddenly evident. Swiatek actually lost a set, her first in a Grand Slam singles final. Her serve was broken five times. She visibly tightened as the match spun toward a conclusion.

But in the end, she managed to manage. She persevered, she prevailed. When Muchova double-faulted on match point, Swiatek was a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 winner. This was her most difficult final and, when she looks back, might be among her most cherished because of the way she won. Up against a comparable athlete, Swiatek willed herself to win.

“This one, for sure, it was a little bit tougher,” Swiatek told reporters later. “I right now feel like it’s a little bit different. I needed to really handle that.

“I'm super happy that I managed to do that and that Daria [Abramowicz, her full-time psychologist] helped me, as well, because for sure these past three weeks weren’t easy.”

This is Swiatek’s third French Open title in four years, a turn of events that is difficult to place in any kind of context, for she turned 22 only 10 days ago. The players of the past she can now call peers is, quite frankly, incredible.

She’s the third player to win each of her first four major finals, joining Monica Seles and Naomi Osaka. She’s the youngest to win her fourth since Serena Williams more than two decades ago. Swiatek’s hat trick in Paris draws her even with Seles, Williams, Margaret Court and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario -- and you can easily argue that she hasn’t even reached her prime.

And when she had won and crouched in the clay, her head in her hands, what was she feeling?

“I don’t know,” Swiatek said. “I was a little bit surprised that it actually happened. [Muchova] was always coming back. So I felt like -- I don’t know, I don’t know what I felt.

“It’s pretty hard to kind of keep your focus for these almost three weeks. I finished the whole clay court swing so well, and that I kind of survived. I guess I’m never going to kind of doubt my strength again, maybe because of that.”

Her swift rise is reminiscent of another famous champion.

Growing up in Warsaw, Poland, Swiatek, who will be featured in Part 2 of Netflix's "Break Point," watched as Rafael Nadal dominated his generation at Roland Garros. She loved his stylish grit, the unadulterated power, that cranked-up, over-the-top forehand, the way he sprinted into position to start each match. His nerve, his imperviousness to pressure. He became her idol -- and, seriously, don’t we all ache to become the people we admire most?

And, over the years, Swiatek has appropriated a number of those signature Rafa characteristics.

Consider Swiatek’s record on the red clay in Paris at the same age: three titles and a 28-2 record. Not bad, really.

“What [Rafa] did and what he’s still doing, it’s pretty amazing,” Swiatek said after her win over Haddad Maia in the semifinals. “I never kind of knew that it’s going to be possible for me. So it was totally out of my reach, if I can say that. And still he played so well so many years, I don’t know if it’s going to be possible for me.

“But I just try to compete, keep it cool year by year and just do everything step by step.”

Keeping it cool, year by year, Swiatek may never approach Nadal’s level of success at Roland Garros, an achievement that likely will never be surpassed. Still, you have to believe Justine Henin’s four titles, Steffi Graf’s six and Chris Evert’s seven suddenly seem reachable.

After Evert handed her the trophy, Swiatek awkwardly lost the lid on the sterling silver Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

“I’m holding it with my finger, so I guess all these emotions, I don’t know, caused that,” Swiatek said. “Sorry. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I’m glad that the Suzanne Lenglen trophy is fine and it won’t happen again probably, but we’ll see.

“I’m not setting like any, these crazy records or goals for myself. I just hope I’m going to have a chance to hold it again in future years.”