Swot a champ: Iga Swiatek’s tennis master class is a lesson for ...

Sport

Swot a champ: Iga Swiatek’s tennis master class is a lesson for life

Having prioritised school over rankings, younger players should note the French Open winner’s attitude

Simon Briggs

If there is a lesson from Iga Swiatek’s phenomenal French Open, which culminated on Saturday in a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, it is that a more rounded person often turns out to be a better tennis player as well.

All over the world, ambitious parents assume that their talented little shotmaker would benefit from total absorption in the game. Yet Swiatek chose to prioritise her schooling, only switching her full attention to tennis once she had completed the equivalent of matric in 2020.

“When she was starting to build her ranking as a 16-year-old, I asked her if she wanted to go full time on the tour,” said Nick Brown, the British mentor who guided Swiatek to the junior Wimbledon title two years ago. “She said: ‘No, I’m staying at school.’ It was non-negotiable. And I thought: ‘Good for her.’ She was sayin:, ‘If it takes a little longer to break through, I believe I can do that’,” Brown said. “She wasn’t in a hurry. It’s a good lesson for younger players.”..

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