Iga Swiatek: Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed, Fearless and a Grand Slam Champion

19-year-old Iga Swiatek has claimed her first Grand Slam title, taking down Sofia Kenin at the French Open. She’s quickly becoming the future of women’s tennis.

Iga Swiatek has just capped off the best two-week stretch that the tennis world has seen in a while. She raced through the French Open draw, winning all 14 of the sets she played on her way to the title over Sofia Kenin.

I don’t know what’s going on, so. I’m so happy. I’m so glad that my family is here finally,” Swiatek said. “I don’t know, it’s so overwhelming for me. It’s crazy. Two years ago, I won junior Grand Slam and now I’m here. It feels like such a short time so I’m just overwhelmed but thank you all for cheering. It was an amazing final.

It’s incredible to look back at what she’s accomplished here in Paris. In those 14 sets, 10 of them finished either 6-1 or 6-2. She finished every match except one (vs. Bouchard) with a set of 6-1. With wins over top-seeded Simona Halep and 4th-seeded Kenin, Swiatek proved her worth as one of women’s tennis’ top players.

The 19-year-old phenom wasn’t highly regarded coming into the tournament and likely wouldn’t have made it past the first few rounds if polled by analysts and experts. Against all odds, however, Swiatek did what she can do best: power through. Her showcase of offensive dominance from the baseline was unprecedented in this tournament; none of her opponents stood a chance as she methodically worked them side to side. Even Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion with an undefeated record post-restart record, couldn’t keep up.

“I knew she was going to be aggressive,” Halep said after her 4th-round loss to the teen. “I knew that she’s playing this way. Today it worked really well for her, every ball. She was very confident, she was powerful, so it was a great match for her.

There was an innocent charm radiating off of the young star through the last fortnight in France. In the midst of play, she showcased the fearlessness and determination fit for someone with years more experience. As soon as each of her seven match points ended, she returned to her familiar ways. “Is Rafa still playing now?” She asked after her semifinal match. A cheeky smile and double thumbs up followed as she jogged off the court, surely on her way to watch her idol play.

Showcasing child-like naivety and focus seen only by her now-fellow Grand Slam champions, Swiatek booked her spot in history. Not only does she join the long list of major champions, but she also becomes one of the lowest-ranked players to ever win a Grand Slam event at World #54. In addition, she finally gets over the cusp for Polish tennis as the only player to win a major title in the Open Era. The closest anyone had gotten before was Agnieszka Radwanska’s Wimbledon finals appearance in 2012.

Swiatek is continuing the laundry-list trend of young players winning major titles. Dating back to the beginning of 2019, only Simona Halep (29 years old) was over the age of 24 over the last seven Grand Slams.

2019 Australian Open: Naomi Osaka (22)

2019 French Open: Ashleigh Barty (24)

2019 Wimbledon: Simona Halep (29)

2019 US Open: Bianca Andreescu (20)

2020 Australian Open: Sofia Kenin (21)

2020 US Open: Naomi Osaka (22)

2020 French Open: Iga Swiatek (19)

The future of women’s tennis has another young star, and her name is Iga Swiatek.

The French Open men’s final is set for tomorrow, where top-seeded Novak Djokovic will look for the double career Grand Slam. His opponent is none other than 12-time Roland Garros champion, Rafael Nadal, who seeks to raise his finals record in Paris to 13-0