French Open Champion Iga Swiatek Grew Up A “Fighter” In Warsaw

Iga Swiatek, the world primary who on Saturday gained her second French Open title, has displayed a combating spirit since her early days hammering balls on Warsaw’s tennis courts. “She was a little kid who really wanted to learn how to play as quickly as possible, and once she did, what mattered most to her was winning,” stated Artur Szostaczko, her first coach. “She was a fighter… I knew that if it went to a super tiebreak, there was no need to worry — Iga wouldn’t crack under the pressure,” the 51-year-old instructed AFP.

Szostaczko nonetheless teaches on the clay courtroom the place the Polish phenomenon first picked up a racket and tried her hand at hitting towards a concrete wall throughout her older sister’s lesson.

“Left, right, the whole time she was running about having a ball,” he stated by the wall lined in vibrant graffiti on the Warszawianka tennis membership.

“Normally a small child has trouble hitting even one or two balls but she could keep it going for dozens of shots,” added the coach, who like Swiatek, at all times has a baseball cap on his head.

Szostaczko taught the proficient sisters — whose father Tomasz is an Olympic rower — for 5 years, till Swiatek was 10 years outdated.

Fast ahead a decade and Swiatek is on the high of girls’s tennis, now with a second Roland Garros title beneath her belt after Saturday’s 6-1, 6-3 win over Coco Gauff.

She can be on a successful streak of 35 matches, equalling Venus Williams’ report for the longest girls’s run since 2000.

Szostaczko stated he’s pleased with his former scholar, whom he remembers as a enjoyable baby in pigtails operating round with phenomenal coordination and a smile on her face.

“I taught her to play aggressive, because that’s the future of tennis, and today she’s doing an incredible job of it on court,” he stated.

Swiatek sisters

The siblings moved on to teach Michal Kaznowski, then on the Mera tennis membership, who recalled Swiatek at all times eager to be handled on an equal footing together with her hard-working huge sister.

“Iga got really mad at me because I proposed some basic drill where I would feed Agata eight balls but only six to Iga because she was younger,” he instructed AFP.

“That made her angry. She went to her dad and said she wants just as many as Agata,” the 35-year-old stated, calling theirs a “healthy sibling rivalry”.

He stated Agata was simply as proficient and had the benefit of being taller however that accidents dashed any likelihood of what might have been Poland’s reply to the Williams sisters.

The youthful Swiatek continued to coach beneath Kaznowski till she was 15.

He stated they have been impressed by the now-famous line from an 11-year-old Serena Williams, who when requested who she wished to be like, had stated: “I’d like other people to be like me”.

“We started thinking along those lines… To develop her own style, her own person,” Kaznowski stated.

They regarded extra to males’s tennis for position fashions, opting towards idolising any girls’s gamers lest Swiatek someday discover herself throughout the online from one in every of them.


“We wanted her to be able to play against the top women without any insecurities,” he stated.

“As we can see, it worked. There she is at the top and now everyone wants to be like Iga.”

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