ROME — It is well past 10 p.m. when Iga Swiatek slid into the middle seat of the tournament sedan. Three hours after capping off her run to the title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the World No.1 was off to the Spanish Steps for her champion’s photo shoot.

“The pizza is already cold,” Swiatek said on the WTA Insider Podcast. “I haven’t had time to eat after the final, so the day is pretty intense.

“But it’s always like that when you win, so it’s good to have problems like that. We’re going to do the photoshoot with the trophy right now, and I’m not properly dressed, but, I guess On will be happy because I have some training gear.”

Listen below to the full interview with Swiatek on the newest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast:

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After her match-point-saving victory in the Madrid final two weeks ago, it would be understandable if Swiatek came into Rome with a physical or mental hangover. But the Madrid win, as Swiatek explained, had the opposite effect. It allowed her to play with more freedom, not only because she knew her level was there but because even if things went pear-shaped in Rome, she still had a big title.

“It’s still a big deal,” Swiatek said, “and I would always feel really bad if I would lose here early. But I think it’s experience, mad confidence that my game is enough. Even if it’s not 100 percent perfect, it’s going to be enough for the first matches, maybe. Obviously it’s tennis. So you can’t predict anything.

Swiatek had folded herself into the middle seat, flanked by her longtime sports psychologist Daria Abromowicz.

Abramowicz wouldn’t help but take the opportunity to needle her charge. “It’s one thing to acknowledge that and the other thing is to execute,” she said.

Swiatek playfully pushed back. “I executed that well! That’s what I just said, that we’re going to another venue and I am more relaxed,” the she said. “Remember, we spoke about it the first day we came here.

“But also taking it easy before the tournament and accepting that you’re not going to play perfect from the beginning.”

Swiatek did accept that possibility when she landed in Rome. A few days later, she played her first set of the tournament. She won it 6-0. She did not lose a set during the tournament, easing past No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in a Madrid rematch to seal her tour-leading fourth title of the year.

Hot shot: Swiatek outfoxes Sabalenka in the Rome final

After a few days of rest, Swiatek will get back to business at Roland Garros, her favorite tournament of the circuit. It’s a beautiful venue, played on the surface she loves so much, in a city where she’s been able to carve out a quiet and serene vibe away from the chaos that is typical of Paris.

“I like the hotel we’re staying at and it’s close to the Bois de Boulougne, so I’m taking Lime [e-scooter] and going there,” Swiatek said.

With some rides through the picturesque streets of Paris coming up, Swiatek appears to have found her perfect pre-tournament stride.


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