10 Things That You Did Not Know About The 2020 French Open Women’s Champion Iga Świątek

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Roland Garros Champion 2020 Iga Swiatek
Roland Garros 2020 Champion Iga Swiatek is also a Redbull Athlete; Image Courtesy: Markus Berger / Red Bull Content Pool

Teenager Iga Świątek created history on Saturday winning the French Open 2020 defeating fourth seed Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1. This was her first senior grand slam victory, but the 19 Year old is also a winner of the Wimbledon Junior title in Saturday’s French Open final in Paris. 

The 19-year-old, who just two years ago claimed the Wimbledon junior title, did not drop a single set at Roland Garros and has now become the first Polish player to ever win a Grand Slam title. 

Świątek showed no sign of nerves in the final, winning 16 of the last 18 points to secure a dominant victory in less than 90 minutes. 

“I’m so happy. I’m so glad that my family is here finally. It’s crazy. Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam and now I’m here. It feels like such a short time so I’m just overwhelmed. It was an amazing final,” said Świątek, who will rise from 54 in the rankings to world No.17. 

Here are 10 things you (possibly) didn’t know about Świątek: (As compiled by the Redbull Content Pool team)

2020 French Open Champion Iga Swiatek with her coaching team; Image Courtesy : Iga Swiatek Instagram

1. She brings a psychologist to tournaments

A permanent member of Świątek’s coaching team is sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz, who goes to her tournaments alongside coach Piotr Sierzputowski. The presence of a psychologist is not coincidental – when she was young, she often struggled with emotions on the court, she used to explode after a bad play and thus lose control over the match. “Daria helps me a great deal. Prior to the match against Simona Halep in Paris, she made sure I had a positive attitude towards the duel. Thanks to that, I was able to take the initiative”, she said after defeating the Romanian. It was Daria who once gave her a ukulele – this musical instrument is supposed to help ensure better control over her emotions. 

2020 French Open Champion Iga Swiatek with her cat; Image Courtesy : Iga Swiatek Instagram

2. She’s a crazy cat lady

She is a cat lover. For now, there’s only one at her house – black Grappa – but, “One day, she’ll want to have more”. Where did the name Grappa come from? “Well… it’s easy to figure out”, she said with a smile. Was there a home tasting after an Italian holiday?

2020 French Open Champion Iga Swiatek with her doubles Youth Olympic Gold Medal at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games; Image Courtesy : Iga Swiatek Instagram

3. She started off like Agnieszka Radwańska

The seventh appearance in the Grand Slam and the first quarter-final – Radwańska and Światek’s careers started off exactly the same. Radwańska made her Grand Slam debut in 2006 at Wimbledon, and advanced to her first quarter-final at the Australian Open in 2008 on her seventh attempt. Światek made her debut in Australia in 2019 and made it to her first quarter-final in Paris in 2020 (Wimbledon 2020 was cancelled) – also on her seventh Grand Slam try. Both were still teenagers, even though Radwańska was a bit younger – she was 18 years and 324 days old with Światek – 19 years and 126 days.

4. She listens to rock music

Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pink Floyd, Santana, Coldplay, AC/DC – it’s not an old school radio hit parade, but Świątek’s playlist! How come she is so fascinated with rock music from the past? She explains, “When I was going to tournaments, that’s the music my coaches listened to and it just stayed with me. I grew fond of it. My fascination with older music is because music had more value to it in the past. It had a greater spirit, triggered emotions and was less synthetic.”

5. Her dad was an Olympian

Świątek comes from a sporting family – her dad, Tomasz, used to be an excellent rower. He represented Poland at the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988 at men’s quadruple sculls (7th place) and at the World Championships (5th place, among other achievements). Her older sister, Aga, also played tennis for a while, but in the end she chose a career outside of the world of sport. “I learnt from my mistakes, when it comes to my daughter’s tennis careers. Whatever didn’t work with the older one, hopefully is going to work out with the younger one,” joked Tomasz a few years ago.

2020 French Open Champion Iga Swiatek at a Warsaw Game; Image Courtesy : Iga Swiatek Instagram

6. She played for Legia Warsaw

If you’ve ever seen Świątek at a football match of Legia Warsaw, it wasn’t a coincidence. She spent a few years representing that club in tennis, training on its courts and posing for photos with the characteristic ‘L’.

2020 French Open Champion Iga Swiatek with her Junior Wimbledon title in 2018; Image Courtesy : Iga Swiatek Instagram

7. She is a Wimbledon winner

Świątek was a very successful junior. Her greatest achievement was a Wimbledon win in 2018 when she defeated Switzerland’s Leonie Küng 6-4 6-2 in the final, and became the fourth Pole with a junior title from the London lawn courts, after Aleksandra Olsza and Agnieszka and Urszula Radwańska. In 2017, she advanced to the Australian Open junior doubles final with Maja Chwalińska. She secured her first junior Grand Slam doubles triumph on the courts at Roland Garros in 2018, together with American Caty McNally.

8. She lovesMad Men

When asked about her favourite series, Świątek says Mad Men without a second of hesitation. She revealed, “This series has a cool retro atmosphere, as it takes place in the ’60s, but at the same time it depicts the beginnings of advertising in the US in an engaging way. It’s important for me that I can learn something interesting from a series, and this one shows many mechanisms and ideas, which are obvious for us, but were something brand new at that time.”

9. She is a Rafael Nadal fan

Świątek has been a Rafael Nadal fan for a long time and keeps rooting for him. Why? She explained, “I admire him as an athlete and his fighting spirit – he’s a model sportsman. Rafa always fights until the very end – he’s a tennis warrior. Moreover, I admire his playing style with high top-spins as I also like to play that way. His left-handed forehand is an amazing hit that earned him more than one tournament win. I like and respect Roger Federer – it’s hard not to consider him a legend of our sport as he’s in a tennis class of his own – but when it comes to style and personality, I’m more into Rafa, because I love his energy. Sorry!”

10. She likes historical books

She really enjoyed Cathedral of the Sea by the author Ildefonso Falcones. She also reads historical novels by Ken Follett but she said, “These are usually pretty thick volumes, so sometimes I need something lighter and I choose Dan Brown or some crime novels.”

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