French Open champion Iga Swiatek breaking the mould.


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French Open champion Iga Swiatek breaking the mould. 1
French Open champion Iga Swiatek breaking the mould. 5

Not even a grand slam champion who has carved out a reputation for being one of the top competitors around could stop a surging Iga Swiatek in the French Open final.

Swiatek raced to her first major and became Poland's first grand slam singles winner thanks to a 6-4, 6-1 victory in Paris over Sofia Kenin, who said she was hindered by a lingering leg injury.

"I just feel like I kind of made history but I still think that (Agnieszka) Radwanska, she achieved a lot because she played on the top level of the WTA for, I don't know, 12 years," Swiatek said, referring to the recently retired 2012 Wimbledon finalist and top 10 regular. "I don't even know the number.

"I know there's going to be a lot of people who is going to compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next couple years to everybody to name me like the best player in Poland because still I have a lot to do."

But for now, Swiatek also became the first female to win the tournament without dropping a set since Justine Henin in 2007 and the youngest champion in southwest Paris since her favorite player, Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard was also 19 in 2005.

"Every year I was watching how Rafa lifts the trophy so it's crazy that I am in the same place," Swiatek said during the trophy presentation.

Another accolade?

At No. 54, no women's player had ever been ranked as low and cradled the trophy.

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after winning the women's singles final at the French Open in Paris against Sofia Kenin of the United States.

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after winning the women's singles final at the French Open in Paris against Sofia Kenin of the United States.

If her junior career is anything to go by, none of this should be a massive surprise.

Swiatek triumphed in the Wimbledon juniors in 2018, a few weeks after capturing the junior doubles title at Roland Garros.

Sports run in her family, as her dad represented Poland in rowing at the Olympics in Seoul in 1988. He was in attendance Saturday along with other family and the player's sports psychologist, whose birthday it was.

The one thing missing was her cat.

"I'm so happy," Swiatek. "And I'm so glad my family was here finally."

"It's just overwhelming for me. Two years ago I won a junior grand slam and right now I'm here. It's been like such a short time."

Swiatek is good friends with Naomi Osaka, who upped her grand slam tally to three by winning the US Open last month. She is an aggressive player like her pal, seeking to dictate with her powerful, heavily spun forehand.

Asked what she does differently to other players, Swiatek said she would have to play against herself to know, but added: "Really, I mean, I just have my instincts. I think this is helping me a lot."

Despite her amazing breakthrough that will launch her into the world's top 20, Swiatek said she cannot even consider herself the best player Poland has produced, pointing to now-retired former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska.

She also said her next target was to reach a level of consistency that has proved troublesome for some of the other women players after claiming maiden Grand Slam titles.

"I think this is what women's tennis is struggling with," she said. "That's why we have so many new Grand Slam winners because we are not as consistent as like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), and Novak (Djokovic). That's why my goal is going to be to be consistent. It's going to be really hard to achieve that."


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