April 29, 2021
I. SWIATEK/A. Riske
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How does it feel to be back in competition after having had some time off?
IGA SWIATEK: It wasn't a long time off, so it's pretty normal. Obviously the biggest difference is that I'm playing right now on clay. Still I feel I have to adjust to that. Even though I was practicing, playing matches is totally different.
I think I'm going to need to just actually get more matches on clay. Even though last time I played, I won French Open, I played eight singles matches on clay last year, so it isn't a lot.
Yeah, I still need to find some rhythm.
Q. How important was it to be able to take a few weeks off since Miami to transition from hard courts to clay?
IGA SWIATEK: It wasn't few weeks. It was like two weeks, I guess. I mean, it's not a lot. I had to do some sponsor stuff, photo shoots. I had a lot of things to do that I didn't need to do before. That's my new life.
Yes, then we did a transition. We decided we going to go to Spain to practice because we wanted to just focus on work, not getting so many factors coming in.
Q. You just mentioned you only played eight matches on clay courts, then won the French Open. What makes you so good on the clay courts?
IGA SWIATEK: I like sliding. I slide even on hard courts. That's pretty easy for me. I'm not the kind of player that has to every year kind of learn how to do that. I just have to remind myself how I was moving.
Yeah, I like to play heavy topspins, I like to have a lot of time. Clay is perfect for me. Yeah, basically it's because when I was younger, I was only practicing on clay. A lot of European girls have this situation. My first coach always taught me to play with big topspin and kick serve. Right now it's just natural for me.
Q. Considering you are ambitious, I'm wondering when you approach a tournament, you feel it like a Grand Slam champion so a bit more pressure on you? Or considering the past you had, let's forgive something to you?
IGA SWIATEK: Can you repeat the last words.
Q. Can you forgive something to yourself?
IGA SWIATEK: It's normal to feel pressure after winning a Grand Slam. I think many players have this issue because it's a new situation for everybody. You just have to kind of let it go and not focus on that.
I had problems with pressure even before French Open because, as you said, I'm ambitious. I always want to play perfect. That's not a good attitude. So I'm still learning how to, you know, win ugly, sometimes perform good even though I'm not feeling perfect.
Yeah, usually the perfectionist, it's hard. A perfectionist would always say, I'm not playing perfect, so it's bad. But it's not like that. You can also win tournaments not feeling like you're in a great shape. I want to learn how to do that. I also think it comes with age and experience. I still need some time.
Q. Talking a little bit about the match, it was a fairly dominant score. What did you make of how you felt on the court? How good did you feel to be back on clay again?
IGA SWIATEK: It's really good. I mean, I always miss clay. I'm always sad that it's only like not even two months during the season when we're playing on clay. So I would like to appreciate every moment on this surface.
Yeah, basically today I just wanted to play solid and to use all the tactics, the clues that my coach gave me to implement everything in my game that he told me. I did that pretty well.
I did some unforced errors that I wish they didn't happen, but they didn't have much influence on the score. Also I try to come back to the solid game, so I did that pretty well.
Q. Any particular tactical adjustments you were working on to get ready for this surface?
IGA SWIATEK: We're still kind of figuring out. That's my first time here. For sure the balls are, like, going pretty high because of the air here. Madrid is elevated. It's totally different. I strung my racquet more tight. I think most of the players are doing that, so it's not something special.
Yeah, you just have to be ready for every shot because I felt that on practices and even today that when I did something like a small mistake technically, the ball went out two meters. You really have to be careful here and just kind of really, really focus on techniques.
On other surfaces, they allow you to do some mistakes and the ball is going to go in anyway. Here is a little bit different. I mean, that's my opinion. I don't know what other players are saying.
Q. As you've returned to practice on red clay and now compete on it, I'm wondering whether your thoughts at all have moved to Roland Garros, if you've allowed yourself to think about returning there? What are you looking forward to most about getting back to Paris?
IGA SWIATEK: I just like the atmosphere there. This year probably is going to be different because I'm going to feel that pressure. But every year when the Roland Garros was getting closer, I felt like my motivation is getting higher. Really I just love being there.
We're going to see if I'm going to feel that this year. Hopefully I'm just going to focus on tennis and not think about all this stuff. But, yeah, that's the main thing I want to have on French Open.
Q. A bit of a random question. I'm wondering whether you consider yourself superstitious at all? If so, what sorts of superstitions do you have?
IGA SWIATEK: I'm not superstitious. I like to have my routines. There are things, little things that can bother me when I do something not as I planned. I think it may have influence on my match or something, which is not true sometimes. I don't know if that's superstition or not. It's not like I have to do everything the same way every day. It's more routines than superstition.
Q. Question about the time that you spent between Miami and here. I wonder if you reflect on it now if it was the perfect decision for you? Can you tell us a little bit about your training in Sotogrande? What was it like? Was it primarily tennis training or are you also reflecting on your season and getting mentally prepared?
IGA SWIATEK: For sure I needed little bit of break for my mentality because I felt like I was on tour for a long time. Even though I lost in Miami in third round, I still played doubles. Actually my coach had time to have holidays, but I was in the bubble for like almost two weeks basically.
I felt like going to Stuttgart isn't the best idea, especially there is a different clay. We wouldn't have, like, a lot of time to switch to this different clay, to normal clay, as we have here.
Yeah, we decided we're going to train here. I think it was perfect decision because it's hard for me to focus in Poland. I have so many obligations right now. Everything is not settled because I haven't found the perfect system of how to do everything after French Open because the situation is new.
Yeah, we came here. It was really intense. I had six days of, like, really hard training. I still feel that in my legs. Yeah, yeah, it was intense. It wasn't like a break or day off. It was like a mini pre-season.
Q. As far as your season, when you reflect on it, are you pretty relieved at how well you've performed, pulling out a title already? How do you feel about the first three months?
IGA SWIATEK: I wish I could feel relieved. Yeah, even though I had some great matches, I won Adelaide, I still feel like it's not enough. I know it's wrong, but that's how my brain works. I kind of have to fight myself.
As soon as I'm going to just chill out and just play, it's going to be much, much better. Knowing now that I can really play well, I expect myself to play well in every match. It's not possible because actually that's going to be my first, like, full year on tour if I'm not going to get injured or anything. Right now I feel like it's so hard to switch to other places, change your game, to adjust.
I was playing really, really well in Sotogrande. I felt like perfectly, maybe not at the beginning, but then when I did some work, it was really solid and great. But when I came here, again I felt like I forgot how to play tennis because the balls were bouncing differently, the clay was a little bit different.
It's annoying for me. You have hard courts for most of the season. You have clay court for some parts. The hard courts are different on each tournament. The clay courts are different on each tournament. It's the specifics of this discipline. So I have to find some distance and just not expect that I'm going to play perfectly.
Q. This is your debut obviously here at this event. As you've already said, the conditions are very unique. They're conditions that have rewarded pure clay courters, like Halep has won it twice, and power players, Kvitova has won it three times, Bertens. You talk about the adjustments of dealing with the ball flying. How do you see that your heavy topspin game can work at a high altitude event like this?
IGA SWIATEK: I think it can work. I just didn't really have time to try it. I mean, today it worked pretty well. That's good. But it depends who I'm going to play with because some players, they are not going to let me probably play my topspin.
Yeah, we're going to see. I'm going to be ready for everything. Yeah, I mean, I don't want to talk about that a lot because people are going to know what to play against me (smiling).
I think my heavy topspin is cool anyway. I feel really comfortable with it, as always, on clay. Yeah, sorry.
Q. A bit of an unrelated question, slightly related to the Olympics. If it wasn't for tennis, what sport would you want to play at the summer Olympics?
IGA SWIATEK: Daria is screaming sailing. I don't know, actually. I had the some questions, like, two days ago. I forgot to think about it.
I don't know what would I play. I don't know. I have no idea. Sorry. Is there any sport when you're the best in annoying your coach or something, you're going to get a medal for that? If yes, that's going to be my sport.
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