By Michael Houston |
Iga Świątek says she is still “shocked” to be a Grand Slam winner, the day after she beat Sofia Kenin in the French Open final.
Świątek, an unseeded 19-year-old, was a dominant all tournament and beat the American 6-4, 6-1 in the final.
“I’ll need to have more time to get my thoughts straight and see the whole two weeks from a distance,” Świątek said, reflecting on her triumph.
“Right now, I’m still happy and I still kind of shocked.
“I’m going to have a lot of responsibilities which are going to be new for me.
“It’s a new experience and I still have some things to learn so I’m just going to enjoy the moment.”
Świątek, who is Poland’s first-ever Grand Slam singles winner, did not drop a set all tournament.
She began with a first-round victory over 15th seed and last year’s runner-up Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic.
Wins over Hsieh Su-wei of Chinese Taipei and Genie Bouchard of Canada followed, before Świątek upset top seed Simona Halep of Romania.
Italy’s Martina Trevisan and Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska were Świątek’s next victims, before she thoroughly defeated Kenin – the reigning Australian Open champion – in the final.
Praise for Świątek’s performances have flooded in from across the tennis community.
Britain’s three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray – the reigning men’s Olympic champion – sung her praises throughout the competition.
He commented on Instagram: “Ridiculous performance today and the whole tournament, love her game.”
Mats Wilander, a Swedish seven-time Grand Slam winner, predicted this will not be Świątek’s only major title.
“She is going to win so many more – you can see that in her demeanour throughout the whole final,” Wilander said.
“I think she can play such a good match because she can come to the net, she is comfortable at the net, she can hit the odd drop shot here and there so she knows she has plan B and plan C.
“Because of that, plan A – which is take the ball early and play as aggressively as possible – you are more relaxed trying to pursue that.”
Tennis icon Billie Jean King, herself a 12-time Grand Slam singles champion, also extended her congratulations on Twitter for the “fantastic achievement”.
Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, who recently finished runner-up at the US Open, also praised the youngster, who thanked her back for her advice during the tournament.
Świątek is the is the second teenager in just over a year to win a women’s singles Grand Slam title after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu won the 2019 US Open.
The Pole is the first Grand Slam champion born in 2001 or later.
Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski – widely tipped to have won the Ballon d’Or were it not cancelled this year – also sent his congratulations.
“It’s a weird feeling having so many popular people behind you and I feel like I’m not really a celebrity so it’s a real honour for me to get messages from people like that,” Świątek added.
“I feel like that the whole of Poland was behind me the whole tournament and they believed in me, so I believed in me.
“It was just amazing I’m just thankful for my fans, for the people.
“Winning against Simona Halep was the one I remembered the most and of course the final and the trophy ceremony, but I think the quarter-final was when I finally realised that I can play my best tennis even under pressure.
“During the whole tournament I made great progress and I was catching confidence in every match and at the end I thought I could win against anyone.”
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.