Iga Swiatek recounts time she couldn't get in Rome qualifying after 5th Slam title

Swiatek may be now a five-time Slam champion but just a couple of years ago she couldn't get into a Rome qualifying event.

by Dzevad Mesic
SHARE
Iga Swiatek recounts time she couldn't get in Rome qualifying after 5th Slam title
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Iga Swiatek got candid on her astonishing early success after landing her fourth French Open title as the Pole admitted it is "pretty crazy" to think that just five years ago she couldn't even get in the qualifying of Rome but now owns such a strong resume. 

On Saturday, Swiatek crushed Jasmine Paolini 6-2 6-1 to complete a three-peat at Roland Garros and also collect her fifth Grand Slam title just days after celebrating her 23rd birthday. For Swiatek, it was her third consecutive title as before coming to the French Open, she won back-to-back WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome. 

At 23, Swiatek is widely considered the best player in women's tennis - she is an absolutely dominant force on clay - and she also firmly holds the world No. 1 ranking. 

But before all of this happened, Swiatek posted a selfie on Instagram taken in 2019 that read: "Unfortunately I didn't get into Rome qualies draw, but I've seen Vatican and ate pizza so that makes our trip successful."

Swiatek, now a three-time Rome champion, was asked to address her turnaround after winning her fifth Grand Slam title. 

“Yeah, it's pretty crazy. In tennis, I feel like this journey, it's pretty fair for everybody. You just have to fight through these moments where you can't get into tournaments and play on ITF level and then start playing on WTA level," Swiatek said.

"But it all went pretty quickly for me, like, my progress was basically like that. I never really stopped. I'm for sure proud of it. Yeah, it's weird, but on the other hand it's normal, because I was, what, 18 or something? Yeah (smiling).” 

Swiatek stays pretty humble

With five Grand Slam titles in her collection, Swiatek is already assured that she will go down as one of the great champions the game has seen. But since she just turned 23 and still has a lot of time left in tennis, it would be a major surprise if the Pole didn't achieve much more before retiring. 

Now that Swiatek has four French Open titles, she is a big contender to get the all-time French Open record one day - Chris Evert owns a record seven titles at Roland Garros. Also, Swiatek is an Australian Open and a Wimbledon title away from completing a Career Grand Slam.

But when asked about her astonishing early success, the 23-year-old Pole provided a very humble answer. 

"I already achieved much more than I ever expected, so I am just doing everything step by step really, enjoying every match and every title," Swiatek said on NBC after the final.

"My goal is to be a better player and I feel that I am a better player than last year for example. So, I'm just proud of that."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene
 

Swiatek on the key match at this year's French Open

En route to winning this year's French Open, Swiatek clinched six pretty dominant straight-set wins while one of her wins came in three sets. And that win in three sets came against four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the second round when the Pole won 7-6 (1) 1-6 7-5.

In that match, Osaka had a 5-2 third-set lead and also a match point when serving for the match but Swiatek managed to recover and pull off a stunning comeback win. Reflecting on that, Swiatek said that win gave her the ultimate belief that she could overcome every situation on the court.

“Well, for sure it gives me the feeling that I should always believe in myself, that I can find my tennis even if I'm in big trouble, you know, and with this tennis, fight back. It gives me confidence. And we'll see," Swiatek explained. 

"I'll always try my best no matter what the score is. Sometimes it's going to add up like that; sometimes I'm gonna lose. But when you're trying your best, it's always the best solution, because you have no regrets and, you know, you can turn tournaments into something like that (pointing towards trophy).”

"I already achieved much more than I ever expected, so I am just doing everything step by step really, enjoying every match and every title," Swiatek said on NBC after the final.

"My goal is to be a better player and I feel that I am a better player than last year for example. So, I'm just proud of that."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Tim Goode
 

Swiatek is scheduled to kick off her grass season in Berlin but it wouldn't be surprising if the Pole decided to skip the tournament since the month was pretty demanding. 

Iga Swiatek
SHARE