Iga Swiatek column: French Open champion on the Seine celebrations and seeing Robert Lewandowski

Iga Swiatek column: French Open champion on the Seine celebrations and seeing Robert Lewandowski

Iga Swiatek column: French Open champion on the Seine celebrations and seeing Robert Lewandowski

Iga Swiatek

After winning the French Open title on Saturday, WTA world number one Iga Swiatek uses her latest Roland Garros BBC Sport column to talk about the aftermath of the triumph.

The 21-year-old Polish, who also won in Paris in 2020, defeated American teenager Coco Gauff in straight sets to extend her winning streak to 35 matches.

It may disappoint many readers, but I didn’t have much time on Saturday night to celebrate winning the Roland Garros title.

The next morning I had a photo shoot with a trophy and had to get up very early. But it doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy or that I’m complaining!

I had a very good meal with my team and it was good to spend the evening with them after many intense and tiring weeks we had.

I didn’t need much to be happy after this final.

I just needed a little more rest to appreciate my achievements, my life and the good people around me.

Before going to sleep on Saturday night, my last thought was that I felt very grateful.

as i wrote in my post on social mediaexternal link after the final, I reflected on my recent achievements – winning six tournaments in a row and becoming number one in the WTA world – and found that my team and I were going our separate ways.

Sometimes it’s different from the other teams. But we were focused on what we can control and this success is our reward for the work, effort and commitment.

Last year was not easy for me. I wrote in an earlier column at the Australian Open how I felt my whole world was turned upside down after winning Roland Garros in 2020.

There were a lot of expectations in 2021 for myself and other people. Everyone wanted to see if I was as good as my result at Roland Garros.

It was actually quite a challenge, but I didn’t quit the things and methods I believe in.

Now here I am, enjoying the time when the hard, systematic work paid off.

Iga Swiatek column
Iga Swiatek won her sixth straight title by winning the French Open, after victories in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome

On Sunday I had the traditional championship photo shoot with the Roland Garros trophy. The tournament chose a very nice spot on a bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower: Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

I like the landscape of the river Seine.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go back to Roland Garros after that to watch the men’s final between Rafael Nadal – my tennis idol – and Casper Ruud in the stadium because of my flight back home. But I was able to watch part of the match on my laptop.

I am pleased that Rafa has once again proved that it is difficult to beat him on clay in Paris. He is the undisputed legend of this tournament.

‘Simple pleasures and stand-up paddle in Warsaw’

So I traveled back to Warsaw on Sunday and will be spending some much needed time at home before the lawn season starts.

I dream of enjoying the simple pleasures, I really do. Do the laundry, tidy my room, sleep in my own bed, chat with my family over breakfast or dinner and meet up with my friends.

Watch some TV series in my bed and eat a nice dessert.

Maybe I’ll also spend some time on the water on stand-up paddles – that’s another thing I really enjoy doing.

After so many weeks on tour and playing to the end in six tournaments in a row, I just need to be home. That makes me so happy.

I have to recharge, appreciate being here and now, in the moment. On tour there is always something to do, lots of people around.

So I would sum it up like this: I plan to change my mode from fast living to slow living.

Even if it’s just for a little while before the hard work starts again soon.

‘Seeing Lewandowski was a huge surprise’

Iga Swiatek sees Robert Lewandowski in her box
Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski used a break from the national team’s Nations League games to watch Swiatek in Paris

When I won the final on Saturday I ran off court and went to my box to celebrate with my team – then I saw Robert Lewandowski there a few rows behind them.

I was seriously surprised because I didn’t know he was there.

My team and my management knew about it, but they decided not to tell me not to distract me.

It was a good decision because for me it is important to keep my routines, especially during such important matches. My team knows me well, so they can keep these things from me.

Seeing Robert was an honor. I’m glad he wanted to see my match and he enjoyed my tennis.

I first met him two years ago when he won a Polish prize for the best athlete of the year and I took second place.

He is the best Polish athlete, I know he has worked hard to get to this position and I admire this approach to systematic, step-by-step work process.

Football is a much more popular discipline than tennis, not just in Poland, so I hope Robert’s interest in our sport can be useful and encourage people out there to explore it.

I would also like to use my status to attract more people to tennis, especially in Poland.

I think we can do a lot to convince kids that tennis is a fun sport to try and make it more available.

That’s a big goal for me. Hopefully I can continue to win prizes and inspire many people.

Iga Swiatek spoke to Jonathan Jurejko of BBC Sport in Paris.