Tennis - Poland's Iga Swiatek, who received a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon, says she is looking forward to playing in her first Wimbledon as a professional after winning the junior girls singles title 12 months ago.
In an interview to the ITF, Swiatek says, “When I saw Court No. 1 again I had a lot of sentiment. I have nothing but positive memories, I don’t have any negative thoughts at all when I come back here. Winning here was a big thing for me and it’s still amazing.
I felt like I was waiting for years to win a Grand Slam as I started playing Junior Grand Slams in 2016. Last year, I was preparing more for Roland Garros as my favourite surface is clay. It was wonderful, if a little surprising, that I won my first Grand Slam here.
I knew that my team believed in me, I just had to believe in myself. I knew the moment was coming but I was a little surprised because I thought I would play better on clay. I remember the moment of victory being both overwhelming and amazing”.
The Polish player is currently ranked No. 63 in the world, adding that she had not thought she would be this high in the rankings this soon. "I didn’t think I would be in the Top 100 at this stage so I’m really happy.
Everything on court changed since winning [Junior] Wimbledon. I have developed in every way, although I still have much to learn. I’m stronger mentally and I think that’s the biggest consequence of winning here last year and why I was winning at the beginning of my pro career.
The victory was a big step. I didn’t really have any targets at the beginning of the season, except to play in the main draw of every Grand Slam – that was my main goal. I just wanted to gain experience and that is the goal for the rest of the year.
Playing on hard courts, for instance, at a high level is still tough for me and I just want to gain that experience and be ready for next year. I do feel like a pro player, though. Going to meet some of my junior colleagues during the Australian Open was weird because I do feel I’m a pro.
In that way, Junior Wimbledon feels longer than a year ago”. She meets Swiss Viktorija Golubic in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships, which begin in London on Monday.