Published on : 06/04/2022 – 08:00Modified : 06/04/2022 – 07:59
Warsaw (AFP) – Iga Swiatek, the world's main participant, who might win her second Roland-Garros title on Saturday, has all the time proven a combative temperament, from her first strikes on the tennis courts of the Polish capital.
“She was a little girl who wanted to learn to play as quickly as possible. And when she learned, what mattered most to her was winning,” remembers Artur Szostaczko, her first coach.
“She was a fighter… I knew that if it went to the tie-break, there was nothing to worry about – she was not going to crack,” the 51-year-old informed AFP. yr.
Mr Szostaczko nonetheless coaches on the identical clay court docket the place the soon-to-be Polish star held his first racquet and tried his hand at hitting a ball in opposition to a concrete wall, whereas his older sister practiced close by.
“Left, right, she kept running to catch the ball, it amused her,” he says in entrance of this wall coated in multicolored graffiti on the Warszawianka tennis membership.
“Usually a child struggles to hit even one or two balls in a row, when she was able to take dozens of shots,” provides the coach who, like Swiatek, wears all the time a cap on the pinnacle.
Mr Szostaczko adopted the 2 gifted sisters – whose father Tomasz competed within the rowing competitors on the 1988 Seoul Olympics – for 5 years, till Iga was 10.
A decade later, Iga Swiatek is on the prime of ladies's tennis, with the title at Roland Garros 2020 and an unbroken sequence of 34 victories on the circuit.
If she manages to beat Coco Gauff within the last on Saturday, the younger Pole will equal the file held by Venus Williams for the longest successful streak amongst girls since 2000.
Artur Szostaczko is happy with his former scholar. He all the time retains in thoughts the picture of this enjoyable little one, all the time with pigtails, all the time on the transfer, with phenomenal coordination and the everlasting smile on her face.
“I taught her to play aggressively because that's the future of tennis. Today she's doing it in a great way,” he mentioned.
The Swiatek sisters
The Swiatek sisters then moved on to Michal Kaznowski, then a coach on the Mera tennis membership, additionally within the Polish capital.
He remembers that Iga all the time wished to be handled on an equal footing along with her large sister.
“Iga got really mad at me once when I suggested a drill and gave Agata eight balls to play and only six to her,” the 35-year-old informed AFP.
“She went to see her father to tell him that she wanted to have as many (balls) as Agata”, he smiles, whereas qualifying their rivalry as “healthy”.
According to him, Agata was equally gifted and even had the benefit of being taller, however her accidents snuffed out the possibilities of what might have been Poland's reply to the Williams sisters.
The younger Swiatek continued to coach underneath Michal Kaznowski till she was 15 years previous.
They have been impressed by the well-known sentence of Serena Williams when she was 11 years previous, who, when requested who she wished to be like, replied: “I wish other people were like me”.
“We followed that idea…to develop his own style, his own personality,” says Kaznowski.
They regarded to males's tennis for function fashions, avoiding on the lookout for any amongst feminine gamers for worry that Iga may sooner or later discover himself up in opposition to one.
“We wanted her to be able to play against the best players, without apprehending,” he explains.
“As we can see, it worked. She's there, on top, and now everyone wants to be like Iga.”
© 2022 AFP