tennis | Women: tennis player Iga Swiatek – anything but a glimpse into the pot

Status: 18/04/2022 08:24

Her rise has been tremendous – but unlike many young tennis players, Iga Swiatek wants to remain at the top of the world tennis rankings. Crossword puzzles and sudoku also help the young Pole.

Iga Swiatek

Photo: Marta Lavandier / AP / dpa

By Jörg Strohschein

The best gift was a really greasy pizza. Right after Iga Swiatek’s victory at the Miami Open in early April against Naomi Osaka (6-4, 6-0). Still sitting on the ergometer and regenerating, Swiatek got a large cardboard box. “If you eat healthy food every day for a month,” she told me with a smile, eating a large piece with gusto. She had deserved that bit of irrationality.

It was the reward of an extremely successful time with 17 individual and three tournament victories (Doha, Indian Wells and Miami) in a row.

A few days later, the 20-year-old was even number one in the world: After Australian Ashley Barty surprisingly ended her career and number two, Swiatek automatically rose to number one. “There’s no better. She’s an incredible person, an amazing tennis player,” Barty said of his successor. At the WTA tournament in Stuttgart, Swiatek is now also the top favorite for the title.

In 2020, the ascent began

In fact, the young Pole has had a meteoric rise that only began in 2020. Until then, Swiatek was only known by tennis insiders. But that was to change impressively: As a mere 19-year-old and 54th in the world rankings, she stormed for the title at the French Open without losing a set and secured her first Grand Slam success.

Swiatek is anything but a glimpse into the pot that suddenly appears like other players and then hardly appears in the sporting spotlight – such as Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017 as an unseeded player and then only swam in the large pool of professionals .

With her tournament victories these days, Swiatek has impressively demonstrated that she will probably play an important role on the WTA tour for a few more years.

Intense mental support

Of course, in addition to a great tennis talent, Swiatek also has at least as much will to work. After all, no one has reached the top of the world rankings without these qualities. But in addition to the mandatory stroke training, Swiatek is primarily dependent on mental help, which seems to give her an extra kick.

Former Polish top sailor and current psychologist Daria Abramowicz, who after her career has specialized in supporting top athletes, has been with Swiatek since 2019. And her duties extend beyond sporting conditions. For example, the collaboration with Swiatek is also about the player’s private relationship.

Abramowicz talks to her about her fears and dreams, about her relationships with other people. “The human anchor,” as Abramowicz calls it. She supports Swiatek’s human maturation process without losing focus on the sport. “It’s impossible to become a champion if you do not have a fundamental joy and your human needs are not being met and met,” Abramowicz recently told the New York Times.

Mathematics instead of stress on the court

Therefore, the psychologist actively intervenes in the sport. During training sessions, she gets Swiatek to wear medical equipment to recognize when her stress level is particularly high. Then Abramowicz tries to find solutions to alleviate the most pressing situations.

At the Australian Open 2020, Abramowicz noted that Swiatek was much more relaxed in its struggles if she had previously worked on school assignments – preferably in mathematics. She has now finished school, so instead of doing homework, Swiatek now takes care of sudokus and crossword puzzles as a warm-up program and stress-reducing measure.

“I won against some of the best players. It can get really confusing at times,” Swiatek said recently. In the meantime, however, she herself has matured into a major player with the potential to play a crucial role in shaping women’s tennis in the years to come. “We were preparing for success,” Abramowicz says.


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