Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Iga Swiatek in first-round women's singles action at the 2022 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
I. SWIATEK/D. Kasatkina
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. How did you feel about how you started the tournament today?
IGA SWIATEK: Pretty confident because it’s not like I have a huge experience of playing here because I only played last year only two matches. Every match is going to give me a lot.
I love the fact that I could be aggressive and actually play the same way I did on practices because I was practicing really, really solid.
Q. What did you do after Australia? I remember when you spoke after the semis, you had a decent perspective about the whole thing. A couple weeks later, how do you reflect on that?
IGA SWIATEK: I’m really happy that I had, like, six days off because basically in my whole career I only had like, I don’t know, two or three times where I could actually have rest that long. That was pretty cool.
I stayed in Melbourne for a few days to see Australia and see Melbourne, do sightseeing a little bit. When I was back home, I couldn’t do that because it was too cold. Basically I tried to avoid getting cold.
Yeah, after few days I went back to practicing. We had like eight days of really hard I would say little pre-season, you know?
Q. I wanted to ask you a little bit about conditions. Obviously here it’s much different from where you played earlier. It’s like that through the whole year, a lot of inconsistencies in conditions. How do you as a player cope with them week to week given that you always look for consistency in your matches?
IGA SWIATEK: I would say adjusting to the conditions is probably, like, the hardest thing in tennis because I had pretty hard situation plenty of times where I played perfectly at home, then two days after with jet lag, I don’t know, sun, different kind of surface and different balls, suddenly I could feel like I lost my rhythm. It’s pretty frustrating sometimes.
But as I said, I think the most important thing in tennis is to learn how to do that and also to get experience from, I don’t know, maybe first two years on tour, then use that every year to remember how it was, have that memory. I think it’s, like, a big advantage for those experienced players.
For me, it’s getting better and better every tournament because, yeah, I mean, when I started WTA, playing on WTA Tour my first WTA season, I felt like I can do more. Sometimes I was pretty annoyed by that. Right now I’m just really chilled out. I’m just trying to get everything out of every day and do it as much as possible.
But, yeah, I mean, here I would say only the balls are the trickiest part for me because I like the weather, I like that the courts are pretty slow comparing to Australia, but the balls can fly pretty crazy. I’m just pretty careful with that, but I like the rest.
Q. Obviously last year with no fans, how do you feel the atmosphere has changed?
IGA SWIATEK: It’s much, much nicer. Yeah, I mean, actually when I was playing here last year I felt like we were playing some sparrings. In my mind, it was pretty hard to feel like on the tournament, especially coming back from Adelaide and Australia where fans are always really enthusiastic.
I’m pretty glad this year we have fans. I could see Polish community coming. They’re always very supportive. It’s giving me, like, plenty of energy and motivation.
Last year, I mean, it was all too calm, yeah.
Q. I’m doing a piece on Danielle Collins. What stands out to you the most about her, the way she’s playing at the moment?
IGA SWIATEK: I would say it’s pretty hard to predict how she’s going to play. For sure in Australian Open she had a great run. Hopefully she’s going to keep playing that well.
Yeah, I mean, speed of her ball was really crazy. I think as we were talking about the conditions, the conditions in Australia really helped her because the surface is like the fastest on tour right now, maybe except US Open.
I mean, to get a result like that on a Grand Slam, everything has to kind of work out. I know how it is because I also had a great run on Roland Garros.
Yeah, I mean, I’m pretty curious if she’s going to keep playing that well. That’s really important in tennis, to just be consistent. That was my goal for last year. I’m going to keep doing that this year, if everything is going to work out.
With her game, she can play really aggressively. She’s also taking, like, a lot of risk. It’s not the way I was playing my whole life, so I don’t know how she’s going to approach making more mistakes or something.
I think Danielle, she’s really confident, really aggressive. If she’s going to keep that good attitude and good mindset, she can do anything.
Q. What did you make of the way Ash won the Australian? You know what it’s like to blast through a draw in a slam. Ash did the same thing. What was your reaction to that?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, that’s basically just confirmation why she’s No. 1. She’s really consistent. She’s like the example for every of us because she seems to have a lot of distance to everything, she’s pretty calm. It seems like she’s not wasting any energy on some other stuff. Even on matches, it’s all pretty efficient.
Yeah, she’s reached that level where she can just physically, tactically be a little bit better. It’s what Vika brought after that (indiscernible). You could just see that’s why she’s No. 1.
I would say, yeah, I mean, she has more variety of the shots. I’m also working on that. Maybe in few years I could also play slice like that.
You can see that also besides the hard work, she’s like really talented.
Q. You watched the Rafa final.
IGA SWIATEK: Yeah.
Q. I know you were nervous. How did you experience that whole roller coaster?
IGA SWIATEK: It was amazing. It was really inspiring because during the match I felt, like, different phases. At the beginning I thought it’s going to be pretty hard for him playing that way to get the score around, to actually start winning with Daniil being so confident going forward.
Rafa also did some little mistakes. You could see even after his reactions that he’s trying to fight through it. Basically during that match I thought if he’s going to win that, it’s going to be really mind-blowing and he’s going to show why he’s Rafa, why he won so many Grand Slams.
That was just amazing. Only a few players can do that. Also it shows that even though the big three, they are older than other players that are coming up, physically they can win these five-set matches. They’re physically also — I don’t know. Their preparation must be amazing.
Daniil is 24, Rafa is 10 years older. At the end he was the one who was stronger in important moments. Physically also. That’s amazing.
Q. I read something in Polish translated that Rafa messaged you.
IGA SWIATEK: Yeah.
Q. If you don’t mind, can you share? Does he usually text you?
IGA SWIATEK: It surprised me because for sure he has a busy life. He’s focused on himself. I don’t know how, like, players that are that great, I don’t know, live, if they share something. It was pretty amazing to see that he actually can text somebody like me (smiling). It shows that he’s pretty down to earth, I guess.
Yeah, for me it’s really inspiring. Even though I wasn’t, like, really angry and sad after my match with Danielle because I know she played pretty perfect game, I mean, yeah, I just felt really motivated. The day after I lost I wanted to come back on court and work harder. I think Rafa’s message had a lot to do with that.
Yeah, he’s just great example for all of us. It’s pretty cool to have, like, contact with him, yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports