Wimbledon: Iga Swiatek becomes second player to achieve feat that eluded tennis legends

Ewan West
Iga Swiatek in action at Wimbledon in 2024
Iga Swiatek in action at Wimbledon in 2024

Iga Swiatek made a strong start to her bid for a maiden Wimbledon title at the 2024 Championships with a straight-set win over Sofia Kenin.

The world No 1 downed 49th-ranked Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion and a former world No 4, 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Kenin upset Coco Gauff in the first round at the All England Club in 2023.

Swiatek is looking to triumph at Wimbledon for the first time to add to her five Grand Slam titles, having won the French Open four times and the US Open once.

Wimbledon is the only Major tournament where Swiatek has not reached at least the semi-finals, while grass is the only surface on which she is yet to reach a final.

The Polish star will face world No 85 Petra Martic in the second round on Thursday as she looks to build on a 20-match winning streak that started at the Madrid Open in April.

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With her victory against Kenin, Swiatek has progressed to the second round at a Grand Slam for the 19th time in a row and the 21st time in 22 career Major appearances.

The 23-year-old has become just the second woman to triumph in the opening round of the first 18 Majors of a decade in the Open Era. Swiatek’s run started at the 2020 Australian Open.

The only other player to achieve this was Swiatek’s Polish compatriot Agnieszka Radwanska, who progressed beyond the opening round of the first 18 Grand Slams of the 2010s.

Radwanska, a former world No 2 and Wimbledon finalist who retired in 2018, won 24 consecutive Grand Slam first round contests between 2009 and 2015.

Iga Swiatek growing in confidence on grass

Following her win against Kenin, Swiatek spoke about her relationship with grass, which has been the most challenging surface for her to date.

“Every year I feel more confident,” Swiatek said in her press conference. “When you change to any surface, you know that the first few days you will never be comfortable, but you have to accept it.

“Looking at how I am playing now, both in matches and in training, I feel like I am progressing every year, every season I manage to develop that adaptation a little bit faster, it is the common process of every surface.

“I can say that I feel more comfortable, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that I know how difficult the next few days will be, we are in a Grand Slam and you always have to be ready.”

John McEnroe’s Wimbledon predictions featuring Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka