“Due to the war in Ukraine, there is currently a kind of chaos in sport”

Since the surprise retirement of Australian Ashleigh Barty in March 2022, Iga Swiatek has dominated the women’s tennis circuit. The first Polish to occupy the place of world number 1, she began her reign by donning a cape of invincibility: 37 victories in a row in one hundred and thirty-five days, six titles and sixteen 6-0 inflicted. In June 2022, the right-hander, disciple of Rafael Nadal, triumphed for the second time in two years at Roland-Garros – where she will still be one of the favorites – before winning, three months later, at the US Open. In Rome, at the beginning of May, she answered questions from the World.

In 2020, 54e world champion and aged 19, you won Roland-Garros to everyone’s surprise. Did it take you a long time to feel legitimate among your peers?

Yes… It was the very first tournament that I won on the main circuit. This victory obviously made me very proud, but I simply told myself that I had played very well for two weeks and that I was going to have to take up other challenges to prove myself. First to prove things to myself, but also to others, to show them that I deserved to win a Grand Slam title.

Since Ashleigh Barty’s retirement, you have few rivals as consistent as you, a criticism that comes up often in women’s tennis. How do you live it?

There are plenty of girls capable of playing at a very high level and I know how difficult it is to be consistent throughout the season. Some are in the process of acquiring this regularity, such as [la Biélorusse] Aryna Sabalenka or [la Kazakhe] Elena Rybakina. [La Tunisienne] Ons Jabeur has also been among the best for several years. If I’m one of the players who focus the most on consistency, it’s because of all the goals I’ve set for myself, I’ve made it my priority.

After that, I don’t care what people think. We’re showing more consistency these days and I don’t think the media is focusing on that as much as they have in recent years. I hope we will manage to hear no more criticism on the women’s circuit.

During your “pantagruel” 2022 season, did you come to believe that you had a “duty” to play perfectly every time?

Yes, completely. I managed to not get overwhelmed until Wimbledon, where I lost the rhythm a bit, going from clay to grass [au troisième tour, la Française Alizé Cornet a mis fin à la série de trente-sept victoires de la Polonaise, battue 6-4, 6-2]. When we switched to hard, my expectations were high again: I know I have the ability to play well and be consistent so I put a lot of pressure on myself.

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