Iga Swiatek called her Roland Garros title “a life-changing experience” and said her biggest challenge would be trying to match the consistency of her hero, 12-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.
Swiatek, 19, became Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin on Saturday.
She eclipsed the run of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska – the most notable Polish player of the interwar period – who finished second at Roland Garros in 1939.
“It’s crazy for me because I’ve seen Rafael Nadal lift the trophy every year and now I’m in one place,” Swiatek said.
“I didn’t expect to win this trophy. It’s obviously amazing to me. It’s, like, a life changing experience. ”
Swiatek, ranked 54, is the lowest ranked player in the modern era to win the Suzanne Lenglen Cup – her first title of any kind at the touring level.
She will reach a career high of 17th on Monday after becoming the youngest female Roland Garros winner since 18-year-old Monica Seles in 1992.
His style has been compared by three-time Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander to that of world number one Novak Djokovic, who, along with Nadal and Roger Federer, combined to win 56 Grand Slam titles.
“I really feel like I can improve in most things because I’m only 19. I know my game is not fully developed, ”Swiatek said.
“I also think the biggest change for me will be to be consistent. I think that’s what women’s tennis struggles with.
“That’s why we have so many new Grand Slam winners because we’re not as consistent as Rafa, Roger and Novak. That’s why my goal will be to be consistent. It will be really difficult to achieve that. ”
– Radwanska ‘always the best’ –
Swiatek was only the second Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era after Agnieszka Radwanska, but quickly ruled out comparisons with the 2012 Wimbledon finalist.
“I just feel like I’ve made history. But I still think Radwanska, she accomplished a lot because she played at the top level of the WTA for, I don’t know, 12 years. I don’t even know the number. ”Said Swiatek.
“I know there will be a lot of people who will compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next two years for everyone to call me the best player in Poland because I still have a lot to do. .
“Still, I think it kind of fits, you know.
Swiatek has received a congratulatory message from Polish football star Robert Lewandowski, and the Warsaw native expects a warm welcome when she returns home.
“I know it’s gonna be crazy. I think I’ll get used to it, it’s not going to be a problem for me, ”she said.
“I haven’t had a problem with, like, attracting attention, with the people around me. I think it’s going to be good for me. I really appreciate all the support I received for two weeks.
“I know the whole country was behind me and they all believed in me. I will be happy and proud. “
© 2020 AFP