2021 FLASHBACK: Swiatek visits TC Desk after Rome triumph

Iga Swiatek gets her clay season in full swing this week in Rome, having withdrawn from Madrid with a shoulder injury—her first break from competition since turning into the tour's dominant player.

The 20-year-old from Poland has reached No. 1, captured four straight tournaments—Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart—and comes in having won 23 matches in a row. That's a big climb in a couple months, and, she says, far away from where she was when she won the Rome title a year ago.

"I feel like I'm a different player right now," said Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion. "I feel like I still was trying to find some kind of consistency in the wins that I had, and also like confirmation that Roland Garros wasn't just like a one tournament.

"I feel like I found that and I feel like I can kind of move forward and just focus on my next goals. Yeah, for sure the tournaments that I played this year, they have shown me that I can play better tennis on hard courts."


In last year's Rome final, Swiatek double bageled Karolina Pliskova.

In last year's Rome final, Swiatek double bageled Karolina Pliskova.

She credits her coach Tomasz Witkorowski, who she brought on for the start of this season, for helping her succeed on hard courts.

"He convinced me to just play more aggressively. Before I didn't really think it was my kind of game. Right now I feel like most of the success that I had this season was because of that," said Swiatek.

But Swiatek finds herself having to get used to her old way of playing again now that she's back on clay.

"Basically here you don't have to play that aggressively," she said. ''I have to switch from [the] more aggressive game to the game that I had before. It's tricky. But it's tennis. It's the most important thing to adjust properly."

Still, Swiatek says she comes in "fresh," having had a 5-6 day break followed by a tough training session before Rome.

The top seed starts her title defense in the second round.