June 2, 2022
I. SWIATEK/D. Kasatkina
THE MODERATOR: Give us some thoughts on today's match.
IGA SWIATEK: Well, for sure I'm even more happy with the performance than after the previous match, because I feel like my game is getting more and more solid. I can really loosen up when I'm getting advantage and when I'm having a break, so that's great. I feel like I'm playing better every match.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.
Q. Tell me about Led Zeppelin. How did you get involved in that? How does it sort of pump you up before a match?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, there are a few bands that I listen to before a match. Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Guns N' Roses, they were always the three that were really kind of perfect for the situation, you know.
So I use music to kind of have something that's going to get my brain busy and relaxed before the match. But also when I want to be more energetic, it really helps me.
Q. On the court you said it was a very emotional win for you. I was just wondering if you could expand on that.
IGA SWIATEK: Well, just, you know, being able to be in the final again, it's great, especially when I didn't know actually how I'm gonna play here after so many tournaments that I played.
It seemed kind of obvious for me that the streak may come to an end soon. So I just wanted to take it really step by step. I didn't have any exact goals on this tournament. And just seeing how my game is developing every match, it's something that's giving me a lot of hope, and I'm just proud of myself.
Q. Because you are Polish, lots of people are writing that you are poles apart from the opposition right now. I wanted to know, why do you think your game is so high right now and your level, why is it so good? In terms of your career, you have already won a Grand Slam, how high can you go?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, I think I have a game to basically, you know, win tournaments, but it's not only about the game. Like everything has to click, and these tournaments are pretty tough and long. So you can see that Grand Slams have different atmosphere and sometimes the ones that are, you know, the favorites are losing early. So I try to really lower my expectations and just take it step by step.
But, yeah, I feel like this season everything clicked, the work that I have been doing physically, tennis-wise, and mentally, you know. Last season for sure I was doing a lot, but I was still, you know, getting experience. Right now I'm using the experience to get everything, you know, to work properly.
Q. It was a bit of a unique situation after your win, because they had the tribute for Billie Jean King on her 50th anniversary of winning here, then you took a picture with her. What did you make of that moment and what are your thoughts on Billie, I guess?
IGA SWIATEK: It's amazing that she is still, you know, on these tournaments and she's showing us how involved she is, because that's the person who basically made women's tennis kind of more equal to men's tennis. We have a lot to thank her for.
So it's really nice that I could be a part of the celebration, but I didn't actually know what to do exactly. I didn't want to, you know, spoil her moment.
But, yeah, I mean, it's great that we can even, you know, talk to her and get some experience and get some tips, because she's really inspiring. You know, I know everybody is saying that, but that's the truth. Without her, tennis wouldn't be the same.
Q. What has your contact been like with her? When did you first meet her? She's talked a lot about wanting to get to No. 1 so she could have a platform and make change she wanted in the world. Now you have been No. 1 for awhile, how are you finding this platform and this opportunity that you have?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, for sure the things that we had to face in couple of weeks are pretty tough, so I don't actually know how I want to use my platform. I haven't figured it out yet, because it's still pretty new for me.
I feel like I really have to focus on my tennis first. When I'm going to get more experience in life generally I think it's going to be easier for me to choose the right path.
I forgot the first question.
Q. (Question off microphone.)
IGA SWIATEK: I think we met in Indian Wells. What year was that? Last year? Yeah, exactly. So Indian Wells was postponed. She texted me couple times, which was pretty motivating. Yeah.
I mean, I know she has many players to talk to, basically, because everybody wants to, you know, talk to a legend. So I don't really want to take a lot of her time, but it's great that she's available for us, and she wants to, you know, really like pass on some knowledge.
Q. You have an incredible track record in finals. I think you lost only one of them three or four years ago, and you won the other ones. I wanted to know if there were patterns that made you so efficient in this situation that most of the time, is there more stress? Why are you so good in finals? Your mindset? What are the patterns?
IGA SWIATEK: It's hard to say, but I'm just trying to treat these matches as any other matches, because it is stressful, and I accept that. But I want to keep doing the same work.
It's been going on well. I'm also aware sometimes my opponents are stressed so I'm trying to kind of realize that and not panic about my own stress.
Yeah, I mean, just kind of treating it as any other match and remembering why I got here and, you know, what my strengths are, this is really helping me. So I think it's all about the mindset and the preparation I have before the match.
Q. Just looking back a few days in the past, you had a difficult match against Zheng. You had a lot of very easy match, at least looking at the score, in the past few weeks, months. I wanted to know if it was important for you to be tested like that in a Grand Slam before the end of the second week.
IGA SWIATEK: For sure. I mean, it was because I felt like I can really even cope with being in a stressful situation on court, and it was like a cold shower. So when I was playing quarterfinal, I felt like even if something is going to go bad, I still know how to come back.
So this match was for sure the toughest one mentally, but when I got over it, I felt stronger. So I tried to take just positives from it.
Q. From the start of the tournament, it's always been like you have been the overwhelming favorite, and everybody has just spoken about the pressure that you have from the expectations. I was just wondering like how much time do you have to spend with Daria talking about this, about dealing with this mental pressure of like being over the feeling, I can't lose, how do you deal with it?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, I try not to hold it inside, and I try to talk with the team, the whole team about it.
So Daria for sure is helpful, because she's around and she's, you know, kind of -- she knows me pretty well. She also knows how to guide me in terms of finding the right solution for me to be more relaxed.
I don't really, you know, measure it. It's just cool that I have people around that I trust, and I can, you know, just talk about some stuff over lunch. But for sure the pep talks that I have before the match are really helpful, both from the coach and both from Daria. We already have this kind of routine that is working perfectly, and we are trying to hold on to that.
Q. You talked about lowering your expectations coming into this tournament. How easy or difficult has that been, given everything that's...
IGA SWIATEK: Well, it was extremely difficult, and it didn't work at the beginning. So for sure when I got past some difficult situations, as I was saying before, it got a little bit easier, because I felt like I had already done like the minimum job that I was thinking I could do here.
And, yeah, I couldn't get rid of the expectations like fully, but I tried to accept that, that they are going to be there and it's going to stress me a little bit more.
Kind of lean on just the physical or the, you know, technical part of tennis that I have skills actually even when I'm a little bit more stressed to win matches, and that really helped me during the fourth-round match.
After that, I felt like I can really loosen up a little bit more, because I already did at least what I have done last year.
Q. I don't mean to turn it into a book report, curious if you finished "The Three Musketeers" yet?
IGA SWIATEK: Not yet. It's going slowly (smiling).
Q. Coco is up a set. I'd like to ask you about her first. For someone who you experienced success when you were young, curious how you make how she has handled everything she's done so far at such a young age and what stands out to you the most in Coco?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, for sure I'm pretty happy that she's doing well, because I think she's also had huge amount of pressure in her life, and being always like the youngest one and the one that is supposed to be the future, it must have been tough.
Yeah, I'm happy that she's doing well with that, because I'm sure that it took her a lot of energy to do it properly. But, you know, I can't really judge, because I don't know what's going on there inside. You never know basically.
So from what I see on court, she's developing every year basically. And, yeah, when I see her, I tend to forget that she's 18, you know. She's playing really consistent. She has consistent results kind of.
You can see her progressing, and I think that's the most important thing.
Q. In our sport, there are just so many wonderful things about it, I don't know, the movement, the ball striking, problem-solving, people. If you had to say one thing that in your tennis life that you love the most about this sport, what would that be?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, it's hard to say. For sure I like winning. That's kind of obvious.
Maybe that feeling after the match that you were physically stronger, and the feeling after some long rallies that it was possible for me to finish with a nice stroke. When I already felt like my legs are burning and I was sure my opponent's legs are burning, I could still go low and just play really solid game, that's kind of satisfying. Because you can feel that all those practices were worth it.
I would say when I learned how to also improve during tournaments and how to loosen up during tournaments, I think it's pretty great, because the beginnings are tough. But for sure here I feel better and better every match, so I hope it's going to stay that way.
But it's a nice feeling to have, because usually, it's sometimes the opposite for other players when they are going to higher rounds they are more stressed, and I'm working pretty hard at the beginning to avoid that.
Q. You have told us earlier that you're listening to Led Zeppelin as a way to motivate yourself. So I just wondered with every round you get through and the closer you get to the final, does it feel like you're climbing the "Stairway to Heaven"?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, I'm not listening to that song, so... Well, it kind of does. But I don't know how to answer that, honestly. Yeah. (Laughter.)
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