PARIS -- If Iga Swiatek's first Roland Garros title in 2020 was a shock, her second in 2022 was a confirmation. Her third, capped off with a gritty three-set win on Saturday, was a story of resilience.
Heading into this year's French Open, Swiatek returned to her favorite hunting ground in the midst of a swirl of questions.
Was she 100 percent fit? Could she handle the pressure of her No.1 ranking being under threat for the first time in 62 weeks?
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Could she manage a draw that had her potentially facing three women who have beaten her this year?
"It wasn't easy from the beginning," Swiatek told WTA Insider. "I felt the most pressure here compared to all the other Roland Garroses. Especially with injuries and not having sometimes enough time to practice everything. I still kind of needed to believe that my game is enough.
"I tried to not look at the draws, but sometimes you play these first matches and you think, 'Oh, is this going to be enough for the rest of the tournament?' It's pretty stupid because the tournament is two weeks and you know that you're not going to even be in the same shape for two weeks."
The key to Swiatek's successful run? Quieting the mind and letting her racquet do the talking.
"Playing as a World No.1, it is stressful, especially when you're kind of facing all these questions basically every two days in the conference room. Sometimes it would be like easier to just go and play tennis and play your game, but you have to face all the other stuff and it's part of the job."
WTA Insider spoke to Swiatek after her title run to break down the keys to Parisian success. Listen to the full conversation on the WTA Insider Podcast below:
WTA Insider: After you won the title you signed "Surreal" on the camera. What made this third French Open title feel surreal?
Swiatek: I think, overall, my achievements are a little bit surreal for me sometimes.
You're working hard and you're doing the day by day for a couple of weeks, and then at the end you feel all these emotions and it feels surreal. It's sometimes hard to just sit down and think about everything because during the tournament, you're always kind of looking forward. But for sure after the final, there are moments to celebrate. So I'll do that today.
Today's match was really tough. Lots of ups and downs and breaks and sometimes it was hard to see what's coming. But I'm happy that at the end in third set, I just believed that I can still win. I came back from a break down and just used my intuition a little bit more and just to tried to play my game and what worked at the beginning.
WTA Insider: A player once described that feeling of focusing and going quiet in the third set as "Airplane mode." Does that resonate with you?
Swiatek: For me, it's low-energy mode. All this overanalyzing, what I want to change, what I should do, how it was before, the crowds -- it's more silent, I would say. You focus on what's forward and you just go for it and not think about all that stuff. So it makes sense for sure.
WTA Insider: What was the key to managing the physical and mental strain of the tournament?
Swiatek: So besides the work that I did also, you know, the team, Maciej, my physical conditioning coach, he really planned everything so well that I was able to come back after Rome and practice, but not practice too much.
And Daria taking care of me every day, whenever I felt stressed or overwhelmed. They're really great people. I feel pretty privileged to have them around me.
WTA Insider: You mentioned in previous tournaments that even if you have a day off, you're still in competition mode. What has been the key for you to be in competition mode for eight consecutive weeks since Stuttgart?
Swiatek: You have to see how you feel and adjust the time that you spend and the activities that you need. Like after Madrid, it was great for me actually not to be in that competition mode. I had two or three days and I went sightseeing. I didn't really think about tennis. I could eat only pasta and not think before every meal if I'm eating enough protein or whatever.
But then you just know that in two days you have to come back. So it's not like a full reset, but you need those little moments to just have energy till the end of the swing.
For sure on Grand Slams, it's a little bit more tricky because you have days off. So I would say you try to not think about tennis and the competition for maybe the time after the match and a little bit of time during the day off. But it is constantly a little bit there. Maybe not for everybody. I don't know how other players have, but I always feel like I'm in a tournament.
Tiramisu & Lego— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) May 31, 2023
Name a better duo ☺️☺️
Thank you Team 🏼 pic.twitter.com/S0zYQuNUYW
WTA Insider: On that topic of keeping your mind shut off from tennis during your time away from the match court, what have you been doing? Have you started your Lego Coliseum set yet?
Swiatek: No, it's too big. If I would open it, how would I travel with that? It's like 11 kilograms. So I'll open it at home.
But stuff as usual. Books and TV shows. I finished "Madam Secretary" and now I'm watching the second season of "Ted Lasso."
Bookwise, I read Leonard Da Vinci's biography. I liked it. I don't know a lot about art. So it was all pretty new for me. And I like how the author actually explained a lot of the stuff. You don't have to know a lot to understand everything, and you just learn about his life as well.
And I have, like, 10 pages left of "East of Eden."
I'll probably finish it in an hour from now.