Iga Swiatek had unparalleled expectations placed on her coming into the French Open. The World No. 1, seen as the title favorite from day one, was on a 28-match win-streak at the start of the tournament, seven short of Venus Williams’ record, set in 2000, for the longest unbeaten run in the 21st century.
The Pole managed all those expectations wonderfully, living up to her billing by lifting the Roland Garros trophy on Saturday.
Facing off against Coco Gauff in the final, the 21-year-old wrapped things up with a dominant 6-1, 6-3 win to lift her second Roland Garros and Grand Slam title.
Swiatek has managed to equal the elder Williams’ record in the process, while also surpassing Serena Williams’ second-best 34-match win-streak.
Speaking at her press conference after the win, the Pole appeared pretty chuffed with herself, despite admitting that it felt “weird” to have overtaken the American legend on at least one particular record list.
The two-time Grand Slam champion revealed that she never thought she would be able to beat the former World No. 1 in anything, which made her title run all the more special in her opinion.
“I think honestly, it may seem pretty weird, but having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it’s something special,” Swiatek said. “Because I always wanted to be, I don’t know, to have some kind of a record. In tennis it’s pretty hard after Serena Williams’ career.”
Swiatek appeared cautiously optimistic about what lay in store for her in the future, remarking that she would be more than happy to extend the streak even further.
“So basically that really hit me, you know. Obviously winning a Grand Slam too, but this one was pretty special because I felt like I’ve done something that nobody ever done, and maybe it’s gonna be even more,” Iga Swiatek said, adding, “Yeah, this one was special.”
“Seeing Polish flags and knowing that people are there to support me, it’s a great feeling” – Iga Swiatek
The World No. 1 was of the opinion that she liked her 2020 triumph better, since it was much easier to focus given the lack of spectators at the event. At the same time, the Pole noted that she used the presence of the crowd this year to distract herself during the tense moments of the game.
“I liked [the 2020 French Open title win] more, for sure. It was kind of easier to focus, because with the empty, almost-empty stadium, you hear your every thought basically,” Iga Swiatek said. “Here you can actually lean on the audience, and maybe sometimes if you’re a little bit stressed, just let yourself hear all these things and then you’re not hearing your own thoughts. So that’s pretty nice. I tried to use it that way sometimes.”
The two-time Grand Slam champion was also extremely grateful to the Polish spectators who turned up to support her throughout the tournament, remarking that it was a “great feeling” to hear them cheer for her.
“Also, you know, seeing Polish flags basically and knowing that people are there to support me and they are shouting my name, I mean, it’s a great feeling, honestly. It’s hard to describe it, but it’s really giving much, much more power,” Swiatek said.