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The No. 1 women's tennis player in the world wouldn't be denied at the 2022 French Open. Iga Swiatek extended her incredible win streak to 35 matches Saturday, cruising to a win over Coco Gauff in the French Open final.
Swiatek was locked in from the start, taking the first set 6-1. Gauff appeared nervous early, making unforced errors to help Swiatek get ahead. Gauff finished the match with three double faults.
Gauff seemed to shake off the rust early in the second set, taking the first two games off Swiatek. From there, Swiatek found her swing. She won the next five games. With one more win, Swiatek would claim the French Open title.
Swiatek went up early in the next game, but Gauff fought back to take it. That pushed the second set to 5-3. Swiatek bounced back in the next game, winning it to take the set 6-3.
With the win, Swiatek has won the French Open two of the last three years. The win also extends Swiatek's streak to 35 matches. That ties Venus Williams for the longest win streak since 2000.
Iga Swiatek has now officially arrived
This win is the latest in a series of dominating victories that began in February. Over a month before Ash Barty retired, Swiatek began playing out of her mind, claiming title after title, winning set after set and game after game.
But it’s just the latest stop on a journey that started when she burst on the scene on the junior’s circuit as a teenager, winning her first and only junior Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2018 before making her pro debut at the Australian Open in 2019. Even then, despite her early success, she was considered an under-the-radar player. Less than two years later, unseeded and ranked No. 54 in the world, Swiatek won the 2020 French Open, beating Sofia Kenin with her now-signature punishing dominance, becoming the lowest-ranked player to win the French Open in the Open Era.
Even in her “early years” (which were not even five years ago), Swiatek was a steamroller. At 17, she was described as “powerful” and “remarkably dominant.” She brings a bullying aggression to each match, taking risks and challenging opponents with an incredible confidence that seems to belong to someone many years her senior.
Swiatek’s ‘mental toughness’ is about gratitude
For that confidence, Swiatek credits her mental health and psychology coach, Daria Abramowicz. A former competitive sailor, Abramowicz is part of Team Swiatek (which Iga has emblazoned on one of her shoes), and has been for years. She can always be seen in the coach’s box, serving as a reminder of everything they’ve worked on.
And it’s been a lot. Swiatek takes mental preparation as seriously as any other part of her training. But this training isn’t about traditional “mental toughness.” Abramowicz told the New York Times in 2021 that she prioritizes personal growth, gratitude, and human relationships as a way to win. To keep Swiatek anchored, Abramowicz works with her to develop her relationships with her family and friends, who provide important emotional support and stability.
It’s not about perfectionism, but about pursuing a positive passion and understanding that losing doesn’t make you less worthy as a human being. And to Abramowicz, that’s easier for Swiatek and others to accomplish if tennis is just one part of a full and vibrant life, and not all of it.
“It is impossible to become a champion when you don’t have a fundamental joy and your needs fulfilled and satisfied as a human being,” Abramowicz said to the New York Times.
This is the key to Swiatek’s success, which isn’t so sudden but is still intense. The expectations of her may be massive and growing larger by the day, but that weight doesn’t rest on her shoulders. The streak she’s on is incredible, but when it finally ends, she’ll just start another one. She’s got both the talent and the attitude of a champion, and at 21 years old, this is just the beginning.