Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeSportsIga Swiatek Dominates in French Open Final for Championship

Iga Swiatek Dominates in French Open Final for Championship

“Stay strong, because the war is still there,” she said as the crowd applauded her message at length under the now-closed roof.

Swiatek, an avid reader and excellent student during her high-school years, is a particularly thoughtful and engaged young champion. Gauff, the prodigy from Delray Beach, Fla., is a particularly thoughtful and engaged runner-up, prepared to use her sports success to speak out on social issues, like gun violence in the United States, which she did after her semifinal victory over Martina Trevisan on Thursday.

Just four years ago, they both played in the French Open girls tournament, with Gauff winning the title and Swiatek losing in the semifinals. But Swiatek, nearly three years Gauff’s elder, has stormed to the front of the women’s game since then with her aggressive style, powerful package of skills and detail-oriented approach to training.

She is one of the first tennis players to travel with a full-time performance psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, and despite finishing in the top 10 last year, she switched coaches in the off-season, hiring Tomasz Wiktorowski, who was working as a television analyst in Poland after many years of coaching retired Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska. Swiatek had finished the 2021 season in tears, crying on court before the finish of her round-robin match at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico. She said her “battery” was too low to be able to control her emotions in that moment, but she decided she needed a change.

“When I came to the team in December, I said, ‘OK lets’s start with the strengths, not the weak points,’” Wiktorowski said. “It was for me really important for her to focus on what she did well, not just what she needed to improve.”

Her new team has clicked quickly, and she has not lost since February, compiling a 42-3 record in 2022 and winning the titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and now Paris, where she broke through in 2020, winning her first major title without losing a set.

That French Open was played in the autumn after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was played without spectators, and Swiatek’s thunderous shots echoed through the all-but-empty Chatrier Court in the final rounds. But this has been a much more festive edition, with crowds making up for lost sporting events and packing the grounds and courts at Roland Garros from the start.

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