Iga Swiatek told she ‘has real room for improvement’ in Novak Djokovic comparison by tennis great

Ewan West
Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic
Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has proclaimed that Iga Swiatek has “real room for improvement” following the Polish star’s 2024 French Open victory. 

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion believes Swiatek must improve at the net to “become more complete” as she pointed to the way Novak Djokovic developed in this area.

Swiatek dismantled Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-1 in the championship match at Roland Garros to claim her fourth title in five years at the clay-court Major.

The only set Swiatek dropped during her title run came in her thrilling second round victory against Naomi Osaka, in which she saved a match point and recovered from a 2-5 third set deficit.

Following that key triumph, Swiatek lost just 17 games in her next five matches as she stormed to her fifth Grand Slam title.

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The 23-year-old has won 19 consecutive matches for the loss of only three sets during a remarkably dominant clay streak, having also claimed the WTA 1000 titles in Madrid and Rome.

Swiatek will now switch to grass, which has been the most challenging surface for her in her career to date. The Pole has not reached a grass-court final, while Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam where she has not reached at least the semi-finals.

Following Swiatek’s French Open victory, former world No 1 Navratilova assessed that Swiatek needs to improve her net game to reach another level outside of clay.

“She will never be as dominant as on clay, but we are talking about a champion and she has real room for improvement. How many volleys did she play [in the final]? Only one, and she missed it,” Navratilova told L’Equipe.

“The truth is she doesn’t really need to go up, she’s so aggressive from the baseline. On other surfaces, however, like grass, it is more difficult. To become more complete, she must progress at the net. She has already improved her service.

“She can win elsewhere by playing like this, she won the US Open [in 2022], but she would win even more by expanding her range.

“Like Novak Djokovic: at first he played basically the same way as Iga, but he developed his forward game, his ability to finish at the net.

“That means we can do it, if we take the time. I know she is already working on this… Now we have to be able to implement it in competition.”

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