Favorite, but can Swiatek solve the turf puzzle?


June 4, 2022; Paris, France; Iga Swiatek (POL) reacts to a point during the women’s singles final against Coco Gauff (USA) on day 14 of the French Open at Stade Roland-Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

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LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – Poland’s Iga Swiatek isn’t hiding her use of sports psychology and may need all her powers of positive thinking to fight her way to the Wimbledon title.

The 21-year-old world number one appears to be a heavy favorite for the tournament – thanks to a 35-game winning streak that began in Qatar in February.

She was simply unstoppable on the clay courts of Roland Garros, dropping a set as she won a second Roland Garros title in three years, having made her way to the 2020 title when she became the youngest champion ever. Roland Garros for 28 years.

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But Wimbledon presents an entirely different challenge for a player whose nine career WTA titles have been won on clay and hard and who admits the grass is tricky.

Also consider the fact that Swiatek hasn’t played a competitive match since beating Coco Gauff in the Paris final, skipping all Wimbledon tune-up events, and the slim odds that she achieves Wimbledon glory on July 9 could be a little misleading.

As a former junior Wimbledon champion, Swiatek certainly won’t be shaken by the move from clay to slick grass and a run to the fourth round last year will offer encouragement.

She will also have sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz in her camp – a key part of Swiatek’s astonishing rise.

Abramowicz describes Swiatek’s ability to process her thoughts in the heat of the moment as ‘unique’ – and it’s that clear thinking and adaptability that she’ll need over the next fortnight as different issues are posed.

“Iga really loves and needs to understand the process and a lot of mechanics and keys on how to get high quality performance, how to deal with stress,” Abramowicz told Reuters. “She’s very open-minded, which is actually another of her great qualities.”


Those not accustomed to seeing Swiatek up close can expect to see her gliding across the grass at Wimbledon, just as she does on clay. They can also expect a powerful return of serve that allows him to take command of the rallies.

Swiatek’s first serve is also a weapon while his second delivery uses slice and topspin to keep his rivals guessing.

Its variety is also another example of a tennis mind that is always thinking of new solutions – whether it’s a drop shot played far behind the baseline or a tricky angle.

There are few obvious weaknesses in Swiatek’s game, but she will be fully aware that there are plenty of grass-court warriors lurking in the draw – like seven-time champion Serena Williams, two-time starter Petra Kvitova and 2018 winner Angelique Kerber.

Swiatek will need to be at her absolute best if she is to top Polish runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012 and become the country’s first singles champion at Wimbledon.

“I think Iga is definitely the favorite,” American great Chris Evert said on a conference call with ESPN.

“But I think when you haven’t played a grass tournament before Wimbledon, again, you don’t really have time to really get used to the grass. I think that takes a bit of a invincibility, domination.

“I wouldn’t say she’s dominant, but she’s the favorite.”

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Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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