Iga Swiatek goes deeply honest about why she 'could not sleep' at 2021 French Open

At the 2021 French Open, Swiatek returned to a Grand Slam as the defending champion for the first time.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek goes deeply honest about why she 'could not sleep' at 2021 French Open
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Iga Swiatek made a pretty interesting reflection and observation about the progress she has made over the years as the Pole revealed that just a few years ago she "could not sleep" when she returned to the 2021 French Open as the defending champion because she didn't know how to deal with such situation. 

In 2020 - when the French Open was pushed back to late September due to the pandemic - a 19-year-old Swiatek lifted her first Grand Slam title. Swiatek, who was 19 at the time, was absolutely dominant throughout the entire tournament as she clinched seven straight sets and lost just a total of 28 games en route to winning the titles. 

The most impressive win the Pole had at Roland Garros that year came in the round-of-16, when she upset and destroyed two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep 6-1 6-2.

When Swiatek returned to Roland Garros as the defending champion the following year, she made the quarterfinal before suffering a 4-6 4-6 loss to Maria Sakkari. 

After beating Camila Giorgi 6-1 6-1 in the Miami Open second round on Saturday, the 22-year-old Pole was asked if there was any incident or tournament where she got "rattled" by something that wouldn't rattle her now. 

"Yeah, I think Roland Garros 2021 was a great example 'cause -- for sure being the defending champion, especially after a Grand Slam where you weren't really expected to do anything, it wasn't really easy. I remember I couldn't sleep and everything. Now I have some solutions to overcome these kind of issues," Swiatek shared.

"Back then, like, the whole tournament was really tough emotionally. I wouldn't have made the same mistakes on next ones. So yeah, this is a good example."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Adam Pretty

Swiatek on learning to adjust and adapt to pretty much any situation and circumstance

After a first-round bye, top-seeded Swiatek was scheduled to start her Miami Open campaign on Friday. But the four-time Grand Slam champion didn't get any action on Friday as rain postponed her match for Saturday. 

When Swiatek finally got to the court, she was clinical as she started by breaking Giorgi in the first, third and seventh games to dominantly win the first set. Swiatek's strong play continued in the second set as she sealed a two-set after winning five consecutive games from 1-1 in the set. 

Afterward, a reporter acknowledged to Swiatek that she did an outstanding job of adjusting and playing extremely well in tricky circumstances.

"On the one hand I learned how to not focus on things I don't have any influence on, just accept them. On the other hand, I don't know, I just believe that I have abilities to play on any surface, especially here where it's a little bit slower usually," Swiatek explained.

"I was kind of in a positive attitude. I already know that I could do it two years ago, so this experience has taught me that there's no need to worry or panic, you just have to really use every minute on court to be focused and get the right feeling. That's all you can do. You don't know if it's going to come or not.

"Today for sure was a pretty positive day. I wouldn't say these courts are much different than Indian Wells. They are different, obviously, but I think it's more about the ball 'cause it's much more heavy here. But I like it, so that's not a problem."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Brennan Asplen

Swiatek cracks a joke about playing Linda Noskova again

On Sunday, Swiatek will return to the court to play 19-year-old Noskova for the third time this year. 

So far this season, Swiatek's most painful loss came against world No. 31 Noskova, who shocked the world No. 1 3-6 6-3 6-4 in the Australian Open third round. 

At the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells, Swiatek made amends for the Australian Open loss and dismantled Noskova 6-4 6-0 in the third round in the desert. However, Swiatek's Indian Wells win over Noskova wasn't as easy as the scoreline might suggest as the 19-year-old Czech had a 4-2 lead in the first set and three break points in the seventh game before the Pole finished the match on a 10-game winning run.

When asked about meeting Noskova yet again in 2024, Swiatek cracked a joke before showing her respect for the 19-year-old's game.

Iga Swiatek and Linda Noskova
Iga Swiatek and Linda Noskova© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

"Yeah, it's our third match, so pretty interesting. I mean, it would be nice if WTA could draw so we don't get bored. I'm kidding (smiling)," Swiatek joked.

"Playing against her is tough, as you could see in Australia. I'm going to focus on myself and learn what I did wrong, what I did good on our last matches and just use that knowledge so I can play in a solid way, really efficiently."

Iga Swiatek French Open