Iga Swiatek keen to follow in Serena Williams’ footsteps by using ‘pressure and intimidation’

Iga Swiatek celebrations

Iga Swiatek has opened up about learning a thing or two from Serena Williams when it comes to using “pressure and intimidation”, her Career Grand Slam dream and her mindset for the rest of the 2022 season.

The 21-year-old Pole has dominated women’s tennis this year as she reached the semi-final of the Australian Open, climbed to No 1 in the WTA Rankings on the back of Ashleigh Barty’s retirement and won seven titles – including the French Open and US Open.

Swiatek enjoyed a 37-match winning streak earlier in the year as she won six titles in a row with the run ending when she made a third-round exit from Wimbledon.

Having such formidable records next to year name certainly helps when it comes to intimidating opponents, something that 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams did well when she was at the top.

“I feel like it’s not every time that I can make use of it [pressure of being at the top],” Swiatek told WTATour.com.

“This is the thing that Serena really showed how to do. Because she was at the top for a long time and she was using that pressure and intimidation of being at the top of the game. She used it pretty well to make her matches a little bit easier, especially at the beginning.

“I feel like I was able to do that a couple of times, but I want to do it more often. So for sure I’m aware of that and I want to try and use it in the right way.”

With her US Open win on Saturday, Swiatek is now halfway towards winning all four majors with only the Australian Open and Wimbledon lacking from her CV.

Now that she has had a taste of winning on the hard courts of the US Open, it should be “easier” at Melbourne Park in future, but she admits she still has a lot to learn on grass to realise her dream.

“I guess it was always kind of my dream, but still, I’m not going to really focus on it because you can see in tennis that some things happen when you don’t expect them. So I’m just going to learn and focus on the process,” she said.

“But for sure I always said it’s the dream. But I still feel like I need more skills on grass to make it a goal.”

Some of the key differences for Swiatek in New York were her ability to figure things out midway through matches and being able to control her emotions.

“I think it’s not only about having solutions but being able to find them in the right moments,” she explained. “I see much more difference in my emotional state after I lose a set right now compared to how it was a couple of years ago.

“I’m able to process a little bit more and find these solutions. When I can find them I have more confidence that it’s going to work because I have more skills tennis-wise.

“Being able to control my emotions a little bit more and not panic as much on court, I’m really grateful for because I’ve been working with Daria [Abramowicz] for such a long time and I feel like it really paid off in those important matches and it’s an important process.

“So this mental part really complements itself with the technical and tactical stuff that I improved with Tomasz [Wiktorowski].”

The three-time Grand Slam has already booked her place in the season-ending WTA Finals in Texas along with US Open runner-up Ons Jabeur so the pressure is off for the final week months of the season.

She concluded: “I’m happy that I don’t have to be in the Race because I’m pretty safe with the points that I have. It’s a totally different situation than last year.”

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