‘It’s double digits’: just how many French Opens can Iga Swiatek win?

Iga Swiatek

When Iga Swiatek talks about her amazing accomplishments despite being so young, she often emphasizes her determination and dedication that have propelled her forward. She always strives to focus on the present, resisting the urge to get too caught up in the future.

Therefore, it was not surprising that Swiatek did not give much thought to the possibility of finishing her career with 10 or more French Open titles. She spoke informally with a few reporters in a peaceful area of a small room in Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday night, four hours after beating Jasmine Paolini to achieve her fourthfifth French Open victory.

The top-ranked player expressed his disbelief at being present at the tournament and having won five slams. He stated that when he was younger, he never imagined achieving such success. He also acknowledged that achieving ten slams at this tournament still seems unlikely, but he remains determined to work towards it and improve every year.

Swiatek's accomplishments are truly amazing. She has managed to win the French Open tournament three times in a row, and four times out of the last five. In addition, she holds the record for being the youngest woman to win four French Opens. Her victory stats at the Roland Garros tournament stand at 35-2 (95%) and she's equally unstoppable on clay courts.

When playing on typical clay courts that are located outdoors and near sea level, there hasn't been anyone who has consistently put up a fight against Swiatek since she won the French Open for the first time in 2020. Swiatek has positioned herself in a favorable spot to keep experiencing success in Paris and it's possible that one day she could surpass Chris Evert, who won the women's singles title seven times. This is something that Evert feels confident will occur.

During his interview on Eurosport, Evert made a joke saying that he gets anxious about Iga when he puts his head on the pillow at night. He even predicts that she will break his record by winning double digits at the tournament. Evert later joined Martina Navratilova at the trophy presentation on Saturday.

In recent times, the best athletes have adapted to a more professional approach towards their careers. They focus on their physical fitness and well-being, which enables them to prolong their professional lives. Consequently, the top players have experienced longer tenures in their respective sports.

It's tough to predict where Swiatek will ultimately land in her tennis career. Many factors and hurdles could steer her in a different direction. Legendary players like Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer made it look effortless to maintain their drive and mental resilience over extended periods.

Some tennis players, like Justine Henin who won seven grand slam titles, have retired at a young age due to mental exhaustion. Iga Swiatek, on the other hand, has mixed feelings about how long she wants to play the sport. Sometimes she worries about burning out by age 28, while other times she loves tennis so much that she wants to play forever. Right now, she doesn't have any concrete plans because she doesn't think it's necessary to plan that far ahead.

I'm not sure if I'll be someone who keeps playing until my body gives out or if I'll stop when I feel satisfied. I was recently watching a tournament featuring some legendary players and it got me thinking about whether I'll have enough energy to come back and play in those types of games. Honestly, I don't have the answers to these questions, so it's hard for me to say when I'll decide to call it quits.

It is evident that Swiatek is currently in the process of improving and has not yet reached her full potential. Despite this, she has achieved notable success this year due to her enhancements to her serve. During the off-season, the Polish player worked on her technique by making it more concise and straightforward.

Swiatek's serve, previously considered a weakness, is now a valuable asset that helps her earn stress-free points. During her play in Paris, Swiatek was able to hit her first serve at an impressive speed of 198km/h (123mph). Swiatek displayed a near-perfect game while dismantling Paolini. However, she is still a perfectionist and is determined to improve even more. Although she is smiling, there is one point that stuck with her. Swiatek mentions a forehand volley that just missed its mark, saying, "This will for sure stay in my head. I don't need to make notes on it because I know I'm going to work hard to get that forehand volley in next time." Swiatek strives to be a better player and improve on areas where she may lack confidence.

After departing her home in April to participate in the Billie Jean King Cup in Switzerland, where she played on hard courts in Biel, Swiatek has gone on an impressive streak. Initially unsure about how she would handle the challenges ahead, she has now completed a 19-match winning run, conquering tournaments in Madrid, Rome, and Roland Garros. As a result, she has solidified her reputation as one of the greatest champions of her time.

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