Iga Swiatek had a "Friend" in Matthew Perry -- even if she never met him in person.
In the aftermath of her win against Coco Gauff at the GNP Seguro WTA Finals on Wednesday, Swiatek spoke from the heart about the late actor and massive tennis fan, saying that she counts herself among the millions of people for whom Perry's hit show "Friends" has been a source of comfort.
"I read his book last year, and I've been watching 'Friends,'" the Polish star told reporters after beating Gauff 6-0, 7-5 to move to 2-0 in round-robin play this week, "and this TV show was kind of a thing that [got] me, I don't know, not lonely in my teenage years."
Perry played the notoriously sarcastic Chandler Bing on the iconic American sitcom that ran 10 seasons and has since transcended pop culture even outside of U.S. borders -- as evidenced by Swiatek's affinity for a show that began in 1994, seven years before she was born -- as it lives on in syndication around the world and in various internet memes and GIFs.
And though she never met him, the Emmy-nominated actor was nonetheless present for a seminal moment in Swiatek's life -- and they swapped words about it on social media. In the aftermath of her US Open victory 12 months ago, she joked that she found it hard to focus in the championship match against Ons Jabeur when she spotted him on the big screen in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The late actor was a talented junior player in his native Canada before pivoting to acting and was a frequent guest at the New York Grand Slam and charity tennis events.
He also attended Roland Garros this spring, where Swiatek won the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for a third time.
Congratulations on your wonderful win yesterday, Champ!— matthew perry (@MatthewPerry) September 11, 2022
"I know that his life was tough on him," Swiatek continued. "It wasn't easy. Obviously, it's really, really sad that he passed away, and he was really kind of loved by everybody and his fans.
"I don't know what to say. Honestly, I've never had a question like that in press. From only my perspective, I was just really sad when it happened and I hope his family and his friends and people that he works with are going to have some peace to just go through everything peacefully."