'Humble' Iga Swiatek addresses expectations, how major success 'messed with my head'

At just 22, Swiatek's resume features outstanding success.

by Dzevad Mesic
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'Humble' Iga Swiatek addresses expectations, how major success 'messed with my head'
© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Iga Swiatek reveals she has never had a list of specific tournaments she would like to win and shares that the last couple of years "messed with my head" because she has accomplished way more than she ever imagined she would. 

Swiatek, who will be turning 23 in late May, already has a very rich resume as she has 18 titles, of which four are Grand Slams and seven have come at the WTA 1000 level. Also, since reaching the world No. 1 spot for the first time on April 2nd, 2022, Swiatek has spent there 93 weeks so far. 

After winning her first title at the main level at the 2020 French Open, Swiatek also won two titles the following year. Since 2022, Swiatek has won by far the most titles on the WTA Tour as the Pole lifted eight titles in 2022 - six last year - and she added her 18th title after winning last month's WTA 1000 tournament in Doha. 

In her return to Indian Wells - where Swiatek made it all the way in 2022 - the Pole was asked if she has a list of tournaments she would like to win outside Slams. 

"I don't have that kind of list, probably because when I start the season, I don't think about actually winning titles. I think about just working and getting my game together," Swiatek said.

"So, no, for me, yeah, I don't really -- for me, doesn't really matter if I win Doha or I win Indian Wells or Montreal or Cincinnati. A tournament is a tournament. I want to win every tournament that I play at. Yeah, doesn't matter."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Swiatek on how her big success 'messed with my head'

When Swiatek became a Grand Slam champion at the age of 19, the general expectation and belief was that she would certainly have a bright future. 

After Ashleigh Barty's shocking retirement in 2022 March, many instantly wondered who would step up and be the next face of women's tennis. The tennis community didn't have to wait too long for that answer as after replacing Barty at the world No. 1 spot in 2022 April, Swiatek went on a 37-match winning streak and had a very successful and dominant season. 

Now, Swiatek admits all of this has kind of been surreal to her and reveals that her goals now are "process-related" rather than "tournament-related."

"Honestly, last couple of years they kind of messed with my head that way that, you know, I achieved much more than I ever expected. You know, so making goals that are based on the results, it's pretty tricky for me, because honestly, just winning, I don't know, two tournaments per year would be, you know, all I ever dreamed of, honestly, and even more," Swiatek explained.

"So I'm trying to set my goals, you know, for more kind of technical stuff, like, working on my serve and actually being more comfortable at the net and stuff like that.

"So it's not tournament-related. It's more process-related. I think that's also kind of how Daria kind of pushed me in that direction, so I think these goals are kind of healthier."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Swiatek on performing well when she is not feeling her best 

In the past, Swiatek spoke several times about the length of a tennis season and highlighted that constantly feeling well is pretty much impossible. But Swiatek worked on finding a solution on how to react in those moments and how she could do well even when she is not feeling very best physically or mentally-wise. 

In Indian Wells, the four-time Grand Slam champion shared a bit of glimpse into how all of that looks. 

"Well, honestly, there are different reasons, so you have to react differently and find different solutions," Swiatek said.

"So, yeah, you just have to kind of don't panic and take it step by step, because I already had plenty of tournaments where I didn't play well during first matches, and then I was able to change my game and adjust a little bit more so I could win titles."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Meanwhile, Swiatek has gotten off to a pretty strong start to Indian Wells. After a first-round bye, top-seeded Swiatek crushed 2022 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins 6-3 6-0 to easily make the third round.

After saving two consecutive break points in the seventh game, Swiatek earned the first break of the match in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead and then served out for the first set in the following game. After winning the last three games of the first set, Swiatek also won the second set without a game lost and finished the match by winning the last nine games. 

In her next match, Swiatek plays Linda Noskova, who famously upset her in this year's Australian Open third round. 

Iga Swiatek
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