At only 19 years old, Iga Swiatek has taken the world of tennis by storm ever since breaking records at the French Open 2020.
On October 10, she became the first Polish player, male or female, to ever win a major tennis championship, after defeating Australian Open 2020 winner Sofia Kenin. She was also the second unseeded player in history to win the tournament.
After also defeating Dubai reigning champ Simona Halep at the French Open, the up-and-coming teen is getting ready to make her Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships debut.
“We are thrilled to welcome Iga Swiatek to Dubai for the first time,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
“She is one of the most exciting young players to emerge in recent times, and the manner in which she achieved her victory in Paris was remarkable. We look forward to seeing if she can repeat that success here in Dubai,” he added.
The youngest French Open champion since Monica Seles claimed victory in 1992 – and the first teen to achieve the same since Iva Majoli in 1997 – Swiatek remained humble during her early successes.
“Even though I knew I have potential and I knew that I can win big tournaments because I won junior Wimbledon, I still had my doubts. I think I knew in the back of my head that I can do pretty nice things on court, but also it’s hard for me to be confident all the time,” she said.
Sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz worked with Swiatek to build up her confidence.
“I just believe that mental toughness is probably the most important thing in tennis right now because everybody can play on the highest level,” said Swiatek.
“She just made me smarter. I know more about sports and I know more about psychology and I can understand my own feelings and I can say them out loud. She just understands me very well and can kind of read my mind, which is weird. She just makes my confidence level higher.”
In the 2019 WTA polls, fans voted Swiatek their Favourite Shot of the Year. The following year, she was crowned as the Favourite Singles Player of the Year.
Last year, she was also named the 2020 WTA Most Improved Player Award.
“Iga Swiatek captured the attention of the world when she won the French Open, and there is no doubt that she will be one of the leading contenders for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
“She is clearly in form this season, taking our defending champion Simona Halep to 6-4 in the third set before conceding their fourth round battle at the Australian Open, and last week overcoming our 2019 champion, Belinda Bencic, in the final of the Adelaide International to claim her second career title.”
Challengers at the DDFTC include previous champions Halep, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic, as well as 2020 US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka, recent Abu Dhabi winner Aryna Sabalenka, former Wimbledon and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
The DDTFC’s WTA tournament takes place from March 7-13. The ATP tournament will kick off thereafter, from March 14-20.