Iga Swiatek makes candid revelation amidst dominant Madrid run

Swiatek has been on a roll in Madrid but the Pole admits not everything about her run has been ideal and perfect.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek makes candid revelation amidst dominant Madrid run
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Iga Swiatek says on paper it might look that that her run to the Madrid Open final has been a cakewalk but the reality is different as the world No. 1 admits there have been some "random thoughts" and internal battles she has fought throughout the tournament. 

On Thursday, top-seeded Swiatek demolished 2017 US Open finalist Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 to safely progress into her second Madrid final. For Swiatek, it was her fourth straight-set win in Madrid this year, while her three-set quarterfinal win over Beatriz Haddad Maia remains the only match where she has dropped a set so far at Caja Magica. 

Against 18th-seeded Keys, Swiatek delivered another impressive start as she made a lightning start and easily won the first set after breaking the American in the second and sixth games. In the second set, Swiatek again claimed two breaks as she broke Keys in the third and ninth games en route to completing her two-set win with just four games lost. 

"In most of these matches you can see the result, but there is a lot beyond that to work on. I wouldn't say it was easy because at the beginning I didn't have much time to adapt to the conditions and that's what I had to do during the tournament," Swiatek said in her press conference following her Madrid semifinal win, via Punto de Break

"But overall my matches have been pretty good, playing efficiently. So I am happy to be able to play like this and to be fresh even before the final."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Swiatek on battling 'random thoughts' in Madrid

In her opening three matches in Madrid, Swiatek looked absolutely dominant as she crushed Wang Xiyu 6-1 6-4, destroyed Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-0 and also dismantled Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 6-0. 

Then in the quarterfinal, Swiatek experienced her first scare at the tournament after Haddad Maia won the first set of their match 6-4. But even though Swiatek was down by a set to Haddad Maia, her win over Haddad Maia was never really in question since she dominated the Brazilian in the next two sets to complete a 4-6 6-2 6-0 win.

"I would be lying if I said I didn't have random thoughts. I have them, but the question is what are you going to do with them," Swiatek admitted.

"I wouldn't say my approach is constant always because some days are better and some days are worse, but even if with a little bit worse, I know I can still play good tennis and win."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Swiatek on playing Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid final

After beating Keys in the first semifinal of the Madrid women's event, Swiatek was waiting in the final the winner of the match between No. 2 seed Sabalenka and fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina. 

Since last year, Swiatek and Sabalenka and Rybakina have been labeled "the WTA Big Three" version. When asked about facing either Sabalenka or Rybakina, Swiatek spoke very respectfully about both rivals. 

“Well, my thoughts basically are that I'm happy that we can play a final against, like, the top players basically. Whoever is going to win the second semifinal is going to play in the final, because it shows consistency," Swiatek said.

"For sure it's going to be a challenge, whoever it's gonna be, and a tough match. I will be ready. I will focus on myself. Yeah, we'll see.”

A couple of hours later, Rybakina was on the verge of setting up a Madrid final against Swiatek as the Kazakh was 6-4 5-4 up on Sabalenka and was serving for the match. But two points away from the victory, Rybakina suffered a collapse and Sabalenka went on to come back and win 1-6 7-5 7-6 (5) and to set up her 10th meeting versus Swiatek.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Against Sabalenka, Swiatek has a 6-3 head-to-head but it was the Belarusian who beat the Pole in the 2023 Madrid final and prevented the 22-year-old from winning her first Madrid title last year. When addressing playing either Sabalenka or Rybakina in the final, Swiatek acknowledged that there are no secrets between the three but that implementing the and game plan and tactics is easier said than done in those matchups.

“I wouldn't say we're trying to figure it out because we know how it should play, but it hasn't been easy to implement at times," Swiatek explained.

"So I still feel like I haven't played that match where you play better tactically from start to finish against these players. That's something I want to improve. It's not that we need to change many things, but we do have to stick to the plan and sometimes I have to apply it a little better."

Iga Swiatek