‘Coco might grow to be a rival for years’


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Iga Swiatek

WTA world primary Iga Swiatek is again with one other BBC Sport column on the French Open.

The 21-year-old from Poland, who received her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2020, reached the ultimate in Paris by beating Daria Kasatkina on Thursday to increase her profitable streak to 34 matches.

I like watching Coco Gauff – my opponent within the Roland Garros last on Saturday – and possibly this may grow to be a particular rivalry for years to come back.

I really feel like she’s been on tour longer than me and he or she’s solely 18.

Coco has nice potential and I hope she is going to maintain enhancing. I believe this event has proven she is on the precise path.

I bear in mind Coco profitable the French Open juniors in 2018 once I actually needed to win. I did not play in opposition to her, although, as a result of I misplaced to Caty McNally within the semi-finals.

However when Coco received – she was solely 14 – I used to be like ‘nice, I labored so exhausting and a lady three years youthful than me is profitable junior Grand Slams’!

It was powerful for teenage me to take however I’ve progressed effectively since.

Once I bought to fulfill her extra on the WTA Tour, I might see she was staying on a extremely good degree and he or she deserves her success.

We do not discuss to one another masses once we’re at tournaments, simply because we’re each sort of shy! It’s fairly exhausting for introverted folks to bond however I actually like her.

I really feel she is basically humble and targeted on the job. It looks as if she is having enjoyable and has good folks round her.

Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek embrace after their recent Miami Open match
Gauff and Swiatek embrace after their latest Miami Open last-16 match, which the Pole received on her option to lifting the title

Rivalries are one of the crucial enjoyable issues about sport and there have been some nice ones within the historical past of tennis.

On Tuesday evening all of us noticed Rafael Nadal play Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros and that is among the biggest ever rivalries.

I believe it’s good for gamers to have others which might be on an identical degree, that makes you extra motivated and wish to work even more durable.

It’s superb what number of matches Rafa and Novak have performed in opposition to one another and what number of they’ve performed within the deep phases of the tournaments.

Lots of their conferences have been in semi-finals or finals, it exhibits that the competitors between them drives them to greater ranges.

It will be good to have a rivalry, one that may push me to excel, to be extra intense and that may problem me to play my finest tennis. I might think about that.

I would not wish to have a document like Maria Sharapova did in opposition to Serena Williams, she received two of their 20 matches. In fact it typically occur and numbers aren’t at all times crucial.

The objective is to take pleasure in tennis matches however, after all, additionally to win.

I’ve by no means thought of who precisely I wish to develop a particular rivalry with. It’s exhausting to foretell who will keep on the prime of the WTA Tour and be constant.

In addition to Coco and possibly Emma Raducanu, I believe Leylah Fernandez has the power to probably problem for the Grand Slam trophies.

Leylah has already made two nice runs – the quarter-finals right here this 12 months and the 2021 US Open last – and if she continues to play that effectively at extra tournaments I believe she might be close to the highest of the rankings.

How rock music helps my profitable streak

Iga Swiatek's playlist

In these last few moments earlier than strolling out on to court docket, you might need seen me sporting my earbuds whereas I am ready to be known as out.

I am at all times listening to a playlist that I made at the beginning of the season to get pumped up for my matches.

It is at all times rock music. There are 5 songs from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Gorillaz and Pearl Jam and they’re on repeat.

If I’ve time earlier than I’m going on to court docket then I’ll hearken to the final two once more.

Generally music helps me loosen up earlier than the match however I exploit this playlist once I wish to have extra vitality.

I began listening to those 5 songs earlier than the primary match this season so once I go on my streaming account and see my most frequent songs it’s at all times the match playlist.

So it is proved to be a fortunate playlist which I do not wish to change earlier than what I hope is yet another win right here on the French Open.

Iga Swiatek was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Roland Garros

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