Top-ranked Iga Swiatek has never made it even to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. But after her play in the Bad Homburg Open this week, she seems to be a real threat at the grass-court major. Of course, just writing this means I have jinxed Iga Swiatek and she will lose on Thursday, but she likely won’t read this (great if she does!) so she’ll never know about the jinx.
Swiatek has been number one for so long – it literally feels like since the 20th century – that it’s difficult to remember she only just turned 22 years old. Carlos Alcaraz is only 20 years old and is the top-ranked player on the ATP tour and seems so much younger. But he isn’t, and that’s why when it comes to Swiatek she needs a bit of a break in terms of judging how good she can be on a grass court.
Swiatek is clearly a better player now on clay, but she does have the game to win Wimbledon as well. While she has less power than someone like Serena Williams, she places the ball with pace like few others. Iga Swiatek doesn’t really overpower a player, but more so strips them away one point at a time until her opponent realizes they have fallen far behind with no chance to catch up.
Iga Swiatek finally seems like a threat to win Wimbledon
This is one reason it’s so weird that she’s not good, or hasn’t been until this week, on grass. The Bad Homburg Open quarterfinal she plays on Thursday will be the first quarterfinal she’s made in a grass-court tournament. She’s great on almost every other surface but stinks on grass. It makes zero sense.
But this week she has destroyed her competition so far. Since losing her first set in the first round to Tatjana Maria 5-7, she has dropped only six games in four sets. Whatever she has been working on has transposed brilliantly. Now she just needs to build a bit more confidence on grass courts.
Iga Swiatek will be the top seed at Wimbledon because she is the top-ranked WTA player, but she shouldn’t yet be expected to win because of her history on grass. That said if she can win in Homburg, she’ll have given the rest of the WTA tour notice. And if Swiatek can conquer Wimbledon, she might just make a run at Serena Williams’ Grand Slam title number of 23.