Tennis-Family matters as Swiatek pursues Olympic dream

By Thomson Reuters May 23, 2024 | 10:32 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – World number one Iga Swiatek considers the Olympics to be her most important tournament because her father competed in the 1988 Seoul Games, she said on Thursday ahead of her French Open title defence.

Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, represented Poland in the men’s Quadruple Sculls rowing event in Seoul, finishing seventh.

“Because of that I know that the Olympics are the most important event probably in sports overall,” Swiatek said at the French Open’s draw ceremony. “Winning any medal would be a dream come true.

“In Tokyo, I remember how stressful it was. This year I’m trying to really keep my expectations low but really work hard to be prepared for the Olympics,” the 22-year old added.

She lost to Spain’s Paula Badosa in the second round in Tokyo.

“I’ll try to do everything step by step, treat this tournament as any other one, even though these are the Olympics, not to put too much pressure on my shoulders,” Swiatek said.

Swiatek, who secured back-to-back titles in Madrid and Rome this year, is widely seen as the favourite to lift the French Open trophy for the third time in a row and fourth overall.

“She showed last year that she is capable of maintaining the pressure and defending her title. It’s going to be difficult to topple her I think,” former world number one and tournament director Amelie Mauresmo told reporters.

Swiatek is bidding to become the first woman to win three consecutive Roland Garros titles since Justine Henin in 2007.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Ed Osmond)