Chris Evert's classy move saves Iga Swiatek's French Open speech

During her post-final French Open speech, Swiatek did something she does not normally do, and was there to help her.
Chris Evert and Iga Swiatek at the French Open
Chris Evert and Iga Swiatek at the French Open / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Iga Swiatek can be two different people. This is not meant as a slight as we can all be two people. For Swiatek, when she steps on the court, she is almost always in full control and plays with a calm and poise that allows her not to beat herself. While not playing, things can be different.

First of all, while Swiatek has won 22 titles, and five Grand Slams, and is probably used to giving post-match speeches, her first language is not English but Polish. Expecting her to be perfect in delivery and pronunciation is unfair. How many of us would be comfortable giving a speech in front of tens of thousands of people in a language that was not our normal one?

After winning her fourth French Open title on Saturday, Swiatek did something tennis fans do not see her do on the court: She rushed. Her post-match speech was being spoken at break-neck speed. This was likely due to nervous energy coupled with having just won another major trophy. Swiatek prepares excellently for playing tennis. She likely spends less time preparing for speeches.

Chris Evert gives Iga Swiatek some advice during post-match speech

But the speed with which she was speaking caused her to stop several times to try to compose herself and repeat herself. She was aware she was talking so quickly, but she could not help herself. After the third time of getting frustrated with herself, Swiatek stopped for a couple of seconds. Chris Evert was standing to Swiatek's immediate right and Evert reached her hand to the Pole and said a few words.

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This clearly calmed Swiatek. She took a breath and said, "OK..." and acknowledged Evert's unheard advice. From that point on, other than feeling she was forgetting to thank someone, Swiatek spoke more slowly and calmly. Who knows what would have happened if Evert had not been next to her?

Of course, two things are true. One is that Chris Evert was and remains one of the classiest people involved with the WTA tour. The other is that Swiatek is going to probably give many more speeches at the end of winning French Opens. Maybe she should bring Evert along for each speech.

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