Tennis icon Chris Evert shuts down 'silly' claim about Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon

Evert gives her take on Swiatek's Wimbledon chances.

by Dzevad Mesic
Tennis icon Chris Evert shuts down 'silly' claim about Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Chris Evert says it is true that mentally preparing yourself for a Grand Slam after just winning one is not easy and acknowledges that grass is not Iga Swiatek's best surface but adds that it is "silly" to think that the Pole can't win the title at The Championships.

During the clay season, Swiatek was lights out as she won back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Madrid and Rome before completing a three-peat at the French Open and improving to five Grand Slam titles. But doing so well came with a price since the 23-year-old Pole was left mentally and physically exhausted, which forced her to skip Berlin so she could rest. 

As a result, world No. 1 Swiatek is entering Wimbledon - which is the lone Grand Slam where she hasn't had a semifinal - without a match played on grass this year. 

But Evert, a former 18-time Grand Slam champion and a three-time Wimbledon winner, wasn't surprised by Swiatek's move since she believes the Pole probably needed "a full week to get back on track." And that wasn't the only challenging thing as Evert highlights there is always "a let down" after winning a Slam and added that Swiatek might be thinking about the Paris Olympics in the back of her mind.

“I don’t know. I wonder where her head is right now as far as Wimbledon. It certainly is the most challenging of all the majors because of several things. Her sweet spot again is shoulder high where she hits her winners," Evert said on ESPN.

Chris Evert and Iga Swiatek
Chris Evert and Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Matthew Stockman

Evert explains the tricky part about playing on grass for Swiatek

One of the big reasons why Swiatek hasn't yet become a strong force on grass or won a title there lies in the fact that the grass as a surface is making it extremely tough for her to play her usual game. And when previewing Wimbledon, Evert explained in detail what it Is about the green surface that makes it so challenging for the five-time Grand Slam champion to play on it. 

“Right now the grass courts bounce a little bit lower. She has to hit the ball between the ankle and the waist. With that western grip, it’s really hard to get underneath the ball and to get some shape on it," Evert explained. 

“She doesn’t win a lot of free points with her serve, and that is going to hurt her as well. She’s the fastest player out there. I think she moves the best of any of the women. Coco [Gauff] and her are very, very even.

“The beauty of her game was the way she was sliding on the clay, then the way she got back into point, back into the court so well. That’s going to be hard to do also on grass.

“Again, it’s the most challenging. She’s just going to have to be a little more aggressive and try to get the first strike of the ball, like she does on every other surface."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Evert's stern warning to Swiatek's doubters: It is silly...

Heading into Wimbledon, some don't even Swiatek as the No. 1 favorite - some just think she is among favorites - while there are some who think that the Polish world No. 1 shouldn't even be considered a contender for the title. 

Evert agrees that other players feel Swiatek is more vulnerable on grass but then also underlines one key thing - the 23-year-old Pole has proven many times over the last two years that she is a mental giant. And considering Swiatek's resume and her mental strength, the American tennis legend warns that taking the world No. 1 for granted could be a big mistake. 

“I just think grass is an equalizer for her. The other players, like Sabalenka, Rybakina, Coco, they’re going to feel like she doesn’t have a lot of confidence, she’s never done better than the quarter-finals, and she’s probably thinking about the Olympics.

“There’s nobody stronger than her mentally. There’s nobody stronger than her mentally. She has a great return of serve. I think she can win Wimbledon. I think she can. People who count her out this year are silly. I think she can win Wimbledon.

“Again, where is her head at? Is she thinking about the Olympics? Is she thinking about the red clay? Is she really gung-ho on Wimbledon? That remains to be seen. Right now her preparation isn’t that great if she’s not playing a tournament.”

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Swiatek starts her Wimbledon campaign on Tuesday by playing against Sofia Kenin.

Chris Evert Iga Swiatek Wimbledon