“Form is temporary, class is permanent.” This timeless quote easily can be used to describe Iga Swiatek’s achievements on the tennis court. On Monday, 6 November 2023, the Polish professional tennis player completed a demolition job against the vastly experienced Jessica Pegula to win her maiden Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals title and reclaim the pole position in the women’s singles rankings at the tender age of 22.
With this win, Swiatek also ensured that she ends the 2023 calendar year atop the rankings, a feat she will achieve for the second consecutive season. Overall, the Polish tennis prodigy has held the leading spot in the women’s singles rankings for 76 weeks in her career and ranks in the 10th position on the list of all-time weeks in the top spot.
Swiatek has four Grand Slam titles, winning the French Open title thrice and the US Open title on one occasion. In addition, the Polish youngster has 12 WTA Tour-level titles. However, she has yet to win at the Australian Open and the Wimbledon Open.
As the world celebrates one of its brightest stars of the future, we look at Iga Swiatek’s stats, rankings and other highlights from her career.
Deep-diving into Iga Swiatek’s career stats, ranking and highlights
Her early days in the world of tennis
Iga Swiatek was born on 31 May 2001 in Warsaw to Dorota and Tomasz Swiatek. Her father is a former rower, who competed in the men’s quadruple sculls event at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Her mother is an orthodontist. Iga Swiatek has a sister, Agata, who is a dentist.
The Polish player made her junior Grand Slam debut in 2016 at the French Open, where she reached the quarter-finals in both singles and doubles disciplines. She followed up this impressive performance with her biggest junior title to date at the Grade 1 Canadian Open Junior Championships, winning against Olga Danilovic in the final.
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In 2017, Iga Swiatek reached her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open (doubles event) where she finished as runner-up alongside Maja Chwalinska. It was not until 2018 that Swiatek won her first junior Grand Slam title. At the 2018 French Open junior doubles event, she partnered with American tennis player Caty McNally to defeat Yuki Naito and Naho Sato in the finals and win the title. Later that year, Swiatek defeated the Japanese duo once again, this time alongside Slovenian Kaja Juvan to win the doubles event at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Swiatek’s entry into the world of professional tennis
Despite not featuring in the WTA Tour before 2019, Iga Swiatek was able to compete in tour-level events throughout that year. She made her senior Grand Slam debut at the 2019 Australian Open where she defeated the then-82nd-ranked Ana Bogdan in three sets in the first round.
Swiatek made her first breakthrough on the WTA Tour at the Ladies Open Lugano in April 2019, where she made it to the tournament’s final. En route, Swiatek defeated third-seeded Viktoria Kuzmova in the second round, and her precise cross-court forehand drop shot against Kristyna Pliskova in the semi-final was voted the 2019 WTA Shot of the Year. She eventually finished runner-up to Polona Hercog in three sets in the final.
Even though she was ousted from the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Open and the second round of the 2019 US Open, Swiatek made a third-round appearance in the 2019 Canadian Open where she upset world number 18 Caroline Wozniacki before losing to world number 2 Naomi Osaka.
By virtue of such impressive performances, Swiatek made it to the top 50 of the women’s singles rankings for the first time in her senior career.
Her rise through the ranks of professional tennis
Iga Swiatek made it to the fourth round of the 2020 Australian Open before the world was brought to a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the tennis action resumed after six months, Swiatek made it to the third round of the 2020 US Open, losing to eventual runner-up Victoria Azarenka.
However, it was in the 2020 French Open that Swiatek proved herself on the biggest stage in professional tennis. She defeated the then-world number 19 and 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova in the opening round, the top seed and world number two Simona Halep in the fourth round, and world number six Sofia Kenin in the final to win her first senior Grand Slam title. Swiatek also became the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title and the lowest-ranked player to lift the French Open crown in the history of WTA rankings (she was ranked 54th at the start of the tournament). The Polish youngster became the youngest French Open singles champion since Rafael Nadal in 2005 and the youngest women’s singles winner at the Grand Slam since Monica Seles in 2005.
With the win at Roland Garros, Swiatek leapfrogged to the 17th spot on the women’s singles rankings. The following year, she won her maiden WTA 1000 title at the 2021 Italian Open, defeating former champion Karolina Pliskova in merely 46 minutes without the loss of a single game. In the same tournament, Swiatek defeated two-time Italian Open champion and the then-world number five Elina Svitolina, and Coco Gauff, the second-best-ranked teenager.
Additionally, she became only the fourth teenager to win a WTA 1000 event. Her exploits in the Italian Open catapulted her to the number nine spot in the women’s singles rankings as she broke into the top 10 for the first time in her career.
Becoming one of the best players in the world
In 2022, Iga Swiatek took the world of tennis by storm as she won five WTA Tour titles on a trot, namely the Qatar Ladies Open, Indian Wells Open, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open and Italian Open. She also won her second French Open singles title, which became her sixth consecutive title win, before her run was cut short by Alize Cornet at the Wimbledon Open in the third round. Her exploits on the tennis court saw Swiatek reach the summit spot on the women’s singles rankings. The Polish player also recorded a 37-match win streak, the longest in the 21st century.
Even though the next few months were a little rocky, Swiaek bounced back at the 2022 US Open, winning the title for the first time in her career (and her third Grand Slam title overall) by defeating Ons Jabeur in the final. In the process, Swiatek also became the first woman since the legendary Serena Williams to win both the French Open and the US Open in the same calendar year. Iga Swiatek ended 2022 atop the WTA singles rankings, and she became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2013 to collect over 11,000 points in a single year (Swiatek ranks second to Williams in terms of most points accumulated in a year).
Swiatk, in 2023, became the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to successfully defend her singles title at the French Open as she lifted her fourth Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros. However, she crashed out of the 2023 US Open in the fourth round, eventually conceding the top spot in the WTA rankings to Aryna Sabalenka.
In November 2023, Swiatek defeated Jessica Pegula in a rather one-sided WTA Finals (the final ended within an hour), winning the title for the first time in her career. She also reclaimed her number one spot in the women’s singles title and became the first woman since Williams in 2012 to win the title without dropping a set.
Since 2021, Swiatek has been working with fellow countryman Tomasz Wiktorowski (who previously acted as Agnieszka Radwanska’s coach) after parting with long-time Polish coach Piotr Sierzputowski (Swiatek worked with Sierzputowski since 2016).
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(Hero and Featured Images Credits: Instagram/Iga Świątek)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What is Iga Swiatek’s ranking?
As of November 2023, Iga Swiatek holds the pole position in the WTA women’s singles rankings.
– Who is Iga Swiatek’s coach?
Since 2021, Iga Swiatek has been working with fellow countryman Tomasz Wiktorowski as her coach.