Iga Swiatek reveals flashbacks of Monica Seles stabbing incident as she makes safety concerns admission

Shahida Jacobs
Iga Swiatek in action
Iga Swiatek of Poland reacts during her tennis match

Iga Swiatek believes the best way for tennis authorities to deal with protests and safety risks is to increase security at tournaments as she also recalled the Monica Seles incident following recent disruptions at events.

Climate change protestors interrupted play at the Italian Open in Rome on Monday as they flung confetti onto the courts with play suspended for nearly an hour. It is not a new phenomenon as climate groups also caused disruptions at Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

The Rome incident took place during Madison Keys’ match against Sorana Cirstea and the American admitted she thought about “tackling” the protestor.

“Honestly, as soon as I saw them come over the barrier, my first thought was: ‘Should I go tackle them?'” she joked.

“I stopped myself and then the chair [umpire] started yelling at me to go sit down. Unfortunately it’s starting to become a bit of a common thing that’s happening.”

There have been no serious incidents so far, but there are concerns that someone could get injured as the protestors often get close to the players.

Swiatek was asked for her thoughts about how tournaments should deal with these disturbances and replied: “Obviously probably the best way is to increase security. I’m not really sure how the security works because I’ve never had any situation where they had to kind of react when I was on court,” the four-time Grand Slam winner said.

“I didn’t see the protest yesterday. I heard that there’s something going on. I didn’t see it. I don’t know if they were actually close to players or not.

“Well, there aren’t many thoughts. People want attention and they’re willing to do anything to get it. That’s how our world works right now.”

The Pole winner then recalled the Seles incident which took place in 1993.

READ MORE: T365 Recall: Tennis’ darkest day that saw Monica Seles stabbed on court

Then world No 1 Seles was stabbed in the back by a deranged Steffi Graf fan during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. The incident took place during a break between games as the man stabbed Seles with a boning knife.

Seles was an eight-time Grand Slam winner at the time and she ended up missing two years on tour. Upon her return, she won the 1996 Australian Open.

Swiatek added: “For sure, well, when I kind of saw what happened to Monica Seles, I for sure had a couple of weeks where I thought about it sometimes.

“The only thing you need to do is to trust that, if the situation happens, WTA will be ready with their security to react. That’s all.”