Iga Swiatek has put the tennis world on notice. On the women’s side, the only consistent champion over the past decade or two has been Serena Williams, who recently walked away from the sport. The subsequent void and Swiatek’s early success leave the young star poised to take over as the face and name of the game. Swiatek’s rise to stardom has been rapid. Just who is she? Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Iga Swiatek.
1, Already Unprecedented Success in Her Home Nation
Hailing from Poland, Iga Swiatek, 21, is the only tennis player from her country to win three major singles titles. She hoisted the trophy at the French Open in both 2020 (just months after graduating from high school!) and 2022, and followed those wins up with a US Open victory in 2022. She is the only Pole to ever be ranked No. 1 in the world on either the men’s or women’s side, and already holds multiple records on the court. The most famous Polish athlete for many years running has been soccer star Robert Lewandowski, but Swiatek is pushing to join him in terms of popularity.
2. An Incredible Winning Streak
Iga claimed something incredible in 2022 – the longest winning streak in WTA this century. Her 37 matches won in a row bested the longest streaks of the Williams sisters (Venus had a 35-match streak, Serena had a 34-match streak). The streak began in February and came to a halt with a Wimbledon loss to Alize Cornet in July. As reported by Eurosport, Iga said that she always wanted to do something that had never been done, and knew it would be hard to do given Serena’s dominance of the sport and record books. Swiatek’s streak truly put her in rarefied air – only Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have had longer winning streaks in professional tennis since the year 2000.
3. From an Olympic Pedigree
Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, was an Olympic rower and represented Poland in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He competed in the men’s quadruple sculls event and placed seventh. According to ausopen.com, Iga said, “I was scared of water, so tennis was much better for me.” Iga credits her father’s competitiveness and drive to succeed as an inspiration in her life. Tomasz has always been viewed by Iga as simultaneously a father and coach.
4. Sister Sister
Iga has an older sister named Agata. Tomas wanted his daughters to excel athletically. His original plan was for Agata to be a tennis player and Iga to be a swimmer. Iga became obsessed with following in her older sister’s footsteps and set a goal to beat her on the court. It turns out that Tomasz was mixed up about which daughter would have the propensity for tennis stardom. Agata and Iga remain close, and Agata has been spotted rooting for Iga in the stands at various tournaments.
5. Cashing in on Her Talents
Prize money from tournament winnings totals more than $14 million following Iga’s win at the US Open. In addition to payouts for her on-court success, Swiatek has endorsement deals with companies such as Asics, Red Bull, and Lexus. Her net worth has been estimated at $16 million and climbing, according to firstsportz.com.
6. The Mind of a Winner
Iga Swiatek sees the important role the mind can play in athletic success, and is also cognizant of the prevalence of mental health struggles. She works with a sports psychologist who travels with her to matches. Her psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, hopes that Iga is setting a good example for young people in demonstrating that even an elite athlete needs help focusing and keeping things in perspective, especially in an era in which there is so much attention and pressure in the form of social media content. Some of her winnings, including a $50,000 check following one tournament, have gone to charities that focus on mental health and wellness.
7. One of Rafa’s Biggest Fans
Iga is an unabashed fan of Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal. She thinks Rafa is an exemplary professional and champion, but also sees similarities in the way the two approach the sport. She spins the ball at tremendous rates like Nadal and has shown the potential to be dominant on clay – a hallmark of the Spaniard. According to Tennis World, she enjoys Rafa’s style but doesn’t imitate every part of it, citing the differences between men’s and women’s tennis.
8. Obsessed with Her Feline Friends
Perhaps too young to be labeled a “cat lady,” Iga loves cats. Her family owns a cat that she captures on social media, and she has said that she wants more cats in the future. She also replies to comments with a cat meme or emoji whenever she gets the opportunity.
9. Unique Blend of Entertainment Taste
Iga has been vocal about the things she watches, listens to, and enjoys. When she’s warming up or has some downtime for music, she mixes her modern Taylor Swift playlists with rock legends from the past couple of generations, including AC/DC, Coldplay, Pink Floyd and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Her favorite actress is Sandra Bullock. She shared that had she not pursued an athletic career, she may have been interested in playing an instrument professionally.
10. Embracing Silly and Awkward Moments
One of the reasons Iga has quickly become one of the most popular tennis players is due to her relatability. Despite being the No. 1 women’s player in the world, she is still a young woman and mixes in plenty of light moments. Iga has built a reputation for giving funny and awkward answers in post-match interviews. Funny moments of hers have been caught on camera, such as not knowing where to stand when being presented with a trophy or gasping when seeing soccer star and fellow Pole Robert Lewandowski cheering for her at the US Open. It’s clear that Iga doesn’t take herself too seriously and is a normal person living out a dream.