Iga Swiatek, who still divided her time between tennis and high school a few months ago, became, at only 19 years old, the first Polish woman, men and women alike, to win a Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros on Saturday.
In the final, Swiatek dominated 6-4, 6-1 Sofia Kenin, world No. 6 and winner of the Australian Open in early February, weakened by a sore left thigh in the second set. Neat 2 games to 1, the American did not really put up any resistance afterwards.
So much so that the native of Warsaw offers herself the Suzanne-Lenglen cup without having lost any set of the Parisian fortnight, a first since Justine Hénin in 2007. In total, she even let slip only 28 games, that is to say four. on average per game.
The teenager kneeling in the middle of Central Court, her head in her hands barely the match point played, still struggled to believe it.
- In the footsteps of "Rafa" -
"It's crazy because every year, I watched Rafa (Nadal, his favorite player, editor's note) lift the trophy, it's incredible to do it myself", she wonders, after lowering for a moment his mask the time to kiss the trophy.
"It's a lot of emotion. I don't understand what's going on, I'm so happy, it's crazy, I'm upset. Two years ago, I won a Grand Slam in juniors (Wimbledon, editor's note) , I have the impression that everything was so fast ", she still surprises herself.
Because at 19, Swiatek was still a high school student almost like the others a few months ago.
"I considered her then as semi-pro or semi-amateur, because she was studying like everyone else, says her trainer Piotr Sierzputowski. Of course she was often abroad, but she attended the courses despite everything, she spent his exams. "
“Tennis was taking a back seat, it was not the main part of her life. It was difficult, he continues. Imagine: I had to schedule her practices at seven in the morning, because she had to go to school. 'school afterwards. And she would come to training tired, and I would ask her why, if she had slept well and she would say, + no, I worked part of the night.
At that time, however, Swiatek was already making a name for himself on the courts, like his round of 16 reached on Parisian clay in the spring of 2019.
- First trophy -
But it was throughout this exceptionally autumnal 2020 edition of Roland-Garros that she demonstrated that she was learning very quickly on the short side as well.
Until then, the young Polish had no title to her record and had only known one final, in Lugano (Switzerland) in 2019. And she had never passed the knockout stages in the Grand Slam.
In two weeks, everything has changed. His main achievement? Having unceremoniously ejected (6-1, 6-2) Simona Halep, seeded N.1 and favorite of the tournament, in the round of 16.
In the standings, his fabulous fortnight in Paris - which led a Polish newspaper to rename Roland-Garros "Poland-Garros" in the front page - will result on Monday by a jump of nearly forty places, from 54th to 17th.
- Will she now devote herself full time to tennis?
"It's going to be difficult to make the decision to continue my studies now because I really feel like I can accomplish great things," Swiatek admitted during the tournament.
"If I continued to play Grand Slam finals, it would be impossible to be consistent at this level and study at the same time," she asked.
For now, “I'll focus on tennis as much as I can. And I'll see later.”
At 19, she has plenty of time.