Iga Swiatek on 'weird journeys' she & her first Slam final rival have had since 2020

Swiatek set to meet Sofia Kenin in the Australian Open first round, the opponent she defeated for her first Grand Slam title at the 2020 French Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek on 'weird journeys' she & her first Slam final rival have had since 2020
© Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm

Iga Swiatek took a moment to reflect on "pretty weird" career paths she and Sofia Kenin have had since their 2020 French Open meeting. 

In 2020 - the year when the French Open was postponed due to COVID-19 and took place in late September and early October - Swiatek made her first Grand Slam final. Swiatek, who had just turned 19 three months earlier, met Kenin in her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. 

At the time, Kenin was coming off her first Grand Slam win at the 2020 Australian Open. Although Kenin was already a Grand Slam champion and Swiatek was playing in just her first Slam final, the Pole was the one who ended triumphant at Roland Garros following a 6-4 6-1 win. 

Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin
Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

Since then, Swiatek has won three more Grand Slam titles and has spent 85 weeks as the world No. 1. On the other side, Kenin - a former world No. 4 - started to struggle mightily with injuries shortly after the 2020 French Open and hasn't won any titles since 2020 March. 

Swiatek set to face Kenin in the Australian Open first round 

Kenin, who is now healthy and ranked at No. 38 in the world, was ranked outside the top-400 at one point in 2022. Now, Swiatek and Kenin are set to meet in the Australian Open first round, in what will be their first meeting since the 2020 French Open final.

"It kind of strikes me sometimes that my first Grand Slam final was against Sofia and now we're playing in the first round. It's pretty weird. That's how our life journeys kind of went apart," Swiatek said in her pre-tournament press conference in Melbourne.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

When Swiatek, 22, and 25-year-old Kenin meet at Melbourne Park, it will be their second meeting. Last month, Swiatek and Kenin met in Abu Dhabi while competing at the World Tennis League in Abu Dhabi. While Swiatek is the big favorite to beat Kenin at Melbourne Park, Swiatek insists she won't be taking the 2020 Australian Open champion for granted.

"I know she's been playing some solid tennis. She was playing in Abu Dhabi. It's not going to be easy," Swiatek said.

Iga Swiatek Sofia Kenin Australian Open