Iga Swiatek answers if she is 'Wimbledon underdog' and why grass is trickiest surface

Swiatek enters this year's Wimbledon seeking her first-ever title on grass.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek answers if she is 'Wimbledon underdog' and why grass is trickiest surface
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Iga Swiatek says she does not want to put enormous pressure and expectations on herself to do extremely well at Wimbledon but also admits that she is aware that she is never considered "an underdog."

Over the last two years, Swiatek has achieved massive success and has had many wins on the Grand Slam and WTA 1000 level but one thing she still hasn't accomplished yet is landing a grass title. 

After winning her fifth Grand Slam title at this past French Open and improving to 22 career titles, the 23-year-old Pole will have just one shot at winning her first grass title this summer after opting to skip Berlin two weeks ago because she needed rest. 

Just like was the case last year, Swiatek is considered a Wimbledon favorite but the general belief is that the tournament is wide open and that some proven grass-court players like Elena Rybakina or Aryna Sabalenka have more chances at winning it all at The Championships. 

And in her Wimbledon pre-tournament press conference, the Polish world No. 1 honestly acknowledged that Wimbledon is indeed a tournament where she is probably not as confident in her chances as she is in other major tournaments. 

"It’s hard for me to be considered as an underdog anywhere now, but I really need to focus on just the process of being a better player here and learning how to play the best kind of tennis and not really on the rankings or the expectations that come with my ranking,” Swiatek noted.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

In the Wimbledon first round, Swiatek plays against 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, who upset Coco Gauff in the first round at The Championships. 

Swiatek explains what makes Wimbledon a tricky tournament

Last year, Swiatek made progress on grass after she made the Bad Homburg semifinal and also reached her first Wimbledon quarterfinal. 

For this year's grass season, the world No. 1 would have certainly liked to have gotten some action on the grass leading up to Wimbledon just to see how it would go and if there was something to work on. But after a very long and successful clay season, the 23-year-old Pole was absolutely exhausted and realized that playing Berlin would do more harm than good. 

However, Swiatek suggests that a player can do well at Wimbledon even without strong preparation since the grass is such a surface where everything moves so quickly and adapting on the can be the key to success. 

“I feel like it's a really tricky tournament. It's not like you can build up your shape and then, I don't know, peak at Wimbledon," Swiatek explained.

“There aren't so many tournaments on grass. Players that are also sometimes underdogs can win it, I feel. The chance is bigger. I guess it comes down more to the mental side, I would say, how you're going to be able to adjust to this surface. The player that does it better is going to win.”

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

On what Swiatek focused in her Wimbledon preparation?

Although Swiatek didn't play any tournaments before Wimbledon, she still did some big work on the practice court and one of her biggest focuses was the serve. 

In women's tennis, Swiatek is widely regarded as the best mover on the court and some have gone as far as to compare her movement to Novak Djokovic's. But the grass is a completely different surface compared to hard and clay and the 23-year-old Pole also tried to figure out how to move more effectively on the fastest tennis surface. 

“Here it's even more important to serve well the first serve. Besides [adjusting my] serve, basically movement and stopping before getting a shot," Swiatek said.

“I can't really slide here. I've been working on that. It's overall just getting the feeling of the surface and making the small adjustments that is going to I think be enough, but we'll see.”

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

Meanwhile, Swiatek was also asked one interesting non-Wimbledon question during her press conference at The All England Club as a reporter wanted to know what the Pole loved the most about tennis. The 23-year-old cheekily said she likes that she is winning a lot before highlighting that the best thing is that tennis has allowed her to live a great life during and after her career. 

"What I like about tennis, I mean I'm winning a lot so I like that. I don't know, tennis gives me this kind of life that I can live, I can basically do anything after my career probably now and it's all because of tennis and I'm always going to be grateful for that. Also, just getting the satisfaction after really making progress in some things that weren't really working before," Swiatek said.

Iga Swiatek Wimbledon