Iga Swiatek Establishes Herself as Nadal’s Heir

Iga Swiatek with the trophy
Iga Swiatek with the trophy (Credit Getty Images)

The tennis world has been wondering for years if there will be someone capable of achieving or surpassing the feat, of reaching the stratospheric record achieved by Rafael Nadal in his reign at Roland Garros. The Martians 14, the same number of majors that, for example, Pete Sampras achieved throughout his entire career or as many majors as Andre Agassi and Mats Wilander combined, two celebrities; above a fictitious alliance between Venus Williams (7) and Maria Sharapova (5), also higher than the record of the 11 Australian Open trophies achieved by Margaret Court. That is, difficult, very difficult, and very complicated but not impossible.

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“If I did it, maybe someone else can do it,” commented the Spaniard two years ago, when he won the last Musketeers Cup competing with one foot on the line. Björn Borg (6), Novak Djokovic, Mats Wilander, or Ivan Lendl (3), mastodons, are far away, and the one who has managed to get closest has been the American Chris Evert (7), who delivers this historic and one-way Saturday of another cup, the fourth, third consecutive, to the Polish Iga Swiatek. “I almost left in the second round, but thanks to the public I was able to get here,” says the champion after beating the Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-2 and 6-1 (in 68 minutes) – chronicle of an announced victory, without any emotion—, remembering the very bad experience he had against Naomi Osaka, who missed the coup de grace; The Japanese missed that match point and, from there, another walk was complete.

Iga Swiatek against Justine Paolini takes place to claim a new title at Roland Garros. (Credit: X)

It’s already a poker in Paris, five greats, only 23 years old, and such an overwhelming command of the surface that perhaps the idea of ​​thinking that Swiatek, a metallurgical competitor if ever there was one, could one day catch Nadal’s golden record is not so far-fetched. Nobody overshadows Warsaw, not on clay: 2020, 2022, 2023, and 2024, are practically the same. And for now, the three wins in a row put him on par with Monica Seles (1990-92) and Justine Henin (2005-07). It goes on and on, title by title and blow by blow, demonstration after demonstration; She is also at the top of the ranking and resisting the attacks of Aryna Sabalenka and the fruitless attempts of the rest.

“I don’t think I have ever seen a player so focused from the first point to the last, on each point and on each shot,” highlights Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, winner of the 2000 edition; “It’s that mental capacity of Swiatek, that concentration, that really impresses me. He has worked a lot on the mental game off the court and it is paying off.”

With the exception of the abyss she overcame against Osaka, the number one has marched with an iron fist through an edition in which Jeanjean, Bouzkova, Potapova, Vondrousova, and not even Coco Gauff, the number three in the world, managed to destabilize her or worry her in the slightest. She cleared all of them with her hands, with that tennis so cold, so imperturbable and industrial that she overwhelms again and again, without restraint or compassion; If a spectator gets lost when entering, half the game is lost. The final shot also lasted in the blink of an eye against the surprising Paolini, spirited at the beginning and reduced dramatically, with a partial score of 11-1.

“Playing against her here is something different. These numbers are not normal… They are something incredible, and she is only 23 years old. She does really well both here and on hard court, she is an incredible player. This year she has already won many trophies [five, of the 22 total]. Playing against her here is one of the great challenges of tennis”, emphasizes the one from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana after the commendable route of these days.

At least the Italian – 28 years old, with no baggage or footprints in the territory of the arena – will have the consolation of not having said goodbye with a donut, conceding one of those 6-0 that the Polish usually endorses with such ease that they have passed to be part of the ordinary. Routine: play Iga, wiggle assured. She and Paris, the extraordinary: four titles in six participations, 74 sets to the bank, and only eight conceded 35 victories. She links with the latter 21, already surpassing Steffi Graff’s mark (20 between 1987 and 1990) and pointing to the sequences of Evert (29 between 1974 and 1981) and Seles (25 between 1990 and 1996). Increasingly more imposing, she rises a little higher: Swiatek, the heiress.

Iga Swiatek wins her fourth French Open Title (Credit: X)

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