MADRID -- It was, in every way, a surreal sight. There was Iga Swiatek, her white kit still caked with clay after a 3-hour and 11-minute tussle for the Mutua Madrid Open title, sitting at a small classroom desk looking like she was preparing for a lecture as opposed to a podcast.

Less than two hours after her match-point-saving win over No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, Swiatek was already looking ahead toward Rome. In a few days, she will take the court at the Foro Italico with an eye on capturing her third Internazionali BNL d'Italia title. 

"I feel like after such a match, I deserve a two-month vacation," Swiatek said, "but I can't have that. 

"So I'll trade it for, like, six tiramisus or something."

Listen to the full interview on the WTA Insider Podcast below:

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Swiatek was quick to downplay the significance of her first Madrid title. It was the one big clay-court title missing from her mantle. She leaves Spain tied for the Hologic WTA Tour lead in titles (3) and wins (30) this season. But, as she told reporters, those achievements mean more to statheads and Wikipedia. 

"I think it depends on what I'm going to do with this match now, because I can let it go and rest and just forget about it, or I can really take a big lesson from it," Swiatek said. "So it depends on what is going to happen in the next weeks in terms of how I analyze it."

El Clásico: Swiatek squeaks past Sabalenka in thrilling Madrid final

Having those mental touchstones has served Swiatek well in the past. As she looks to maintain her distance ahead of the chasing pack spearheaded by Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, she is spurred on by past moments that fuel her competitive instincts. 

"I'm not thinking about Aryna when I'm practicing, but it's more that I know that the competition is big and if I stop for a while I might be pushed out," Swiatek said.

"But I had this kind of thing, in Rome 2022 with the final against Ons [Jabeur], that game from 0-40. Physically, I was so tired. The rallies were long, Ons was playing a pretty tricky game, you had to run in different directions and everything.

"So that game for the next years, when I was doing the worst practices on court and I was dying, I was actually thinking about that game."

And so all eyes turn to Rome and Roland Garros to see just how Swiatek will apply her learnings from Madrid. Here is where her studious personality and work ethic will serve her well. 

"Even if something worked today, it doesn't mean it's going to work the next time I'm going to be stressed," Swiatek said, "so you can't really copy that pattern. 

"So it's not about what you want to use to make your game better, it's more about hope and believing that you can make your game better, and you can win even though she's serving great and you're not serving well and you feel like she's attacking all the time and you're in defense. So I think I'm going to take some hope, and maybe this trophy will remind me of that."