Swiatek won this title in 2020, the Roland Garros event delayed until October that year by the pandemic. That was her first ever tour title, she’s added seven since, five this year.
Some Swiatek quotes via the Roland Garros official site.
“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,” said Swiatek, who is looking to become the first woman to collect six consecutive titles since Justine Henin in 2007-08 this weekend.
“It seemed kind of obvious for me that the streak may come to an end soon. So I just wanted to take it step by step. I didn’t have any exact goals on this tournament. 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.”
Caira Conner profiled Coco Gauff, a young athlete looking way beyond the end of her racquet.
She is among a burgeoning cohort of athletes who use time in front of reporters to speak up on issues that have little to do with the racquets or balls in their hands. In tennis, a sport where players are perhaps more likely to publicly eschew the complexities of social consciousness for platitudes on hard work, Gauff is clear on her choice: “I’m a human first.”
“Since I was younger, my dad told me I could change the world with my racquet,” said Gauff, who cited LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Naomi Osaka and Billie Jean King among her role models in athlete-activism. “He didn’t mean that by like just playing tennis. He meant speaking out on issues like this. The first thing my dad said to me after I got off court, I’m proud of you and I love what you wrote on the camera.”
Tumaini Carayol deep-dove into Iga Swiatek.
Swiatek’s 34-match winning streak is remarkable in itself, the joint second-highest of the 21st century alongside Serena Williams and one behind Venus Williams’s count of 35 in 2000. While the others faced more difficult rivals, the circumstances are particularly awkward given its timing. Arriving at the French Open with all her 28 wins coming at WTA tournaments seemed like such an extra burden that some believed a loss in Rome might have helped her manage the pressure.
As she has navigated the draw, Swiatek has handled the occasion in different ways. She has talked about the value of maintaining low expectations, taking things day by day, even though her ambitions make it so difficult. She has been frank about the possible outcomes here, including the fact that losing is an option that should be prepared for, one that would not be a tragedy.
Quite the final we have on Philippe Chatrier today, a battle between an irresistible force in Iga Swiatek and irresistible charm in Coco Gauff. It’s also a battle between two members of the younger generation on the women’s tour. Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, while Gauff is still just 18, having charmed the tennis world in 2018 with her Wimbledon run. It’s her first grand slam final, though she has also reached the women’s doubles final this year at Roland Garros. To land the French title, Gauff must beat a player on a 34-match winning streak, going for a sixth title in succession, and therefore upset the odds, though she has yet to drop a set this year in Paris. This could be a classic, and three sets of tennis must be expected.
We start at 2pm UK time.