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Everyone treats you as if you should play for them, not for me

Iga Swiatek recently gave fans an inside look into the pressure on her to succeed from fans of her home country Poland.

Swiatek has enjoyed a meteoric rise since her WTA Tour debut in 2019. The Pole surprised the tennis universe by winning the 2020 French Open as an unseeded player. She would become the World No. 1 in early 2022 and has since established her dominant reign on the women’s circuit.

That said, Iga Swiatek hasn’t always had it easy. The 22-year-old recently spoke to the Spanish tabloid Punto de Break where she fielded a question on how she deals with the expectations of her Polish fans.

In response, the four-time Major winner disclosed that she was surprised by the fanfare for her following her maiden Major title. Moreover, Swiatek admitted that while she was motivated by being a role model back home, she still felt that most local fans cared more about their bragging rights than her happiness.

“Everything happened suddenly, after Roland Garros 2020, but I felt that at that time people still didn’t know if I would be a one-time athlete, or if I would continue to play well. Although honestly, I didn’t know either,” Iga Swiatek told Punto de Break.

“My consistency put me in that position, it’s a good role because I always wanted to inspire others. Plus, it’s easier to find motivation when you feel like the kids are watching you. At the same time, it also puts a bit of a burden on your shoulders, it’s not easy to balance, because everyone treats you as if you should play for them, not for me. I’m still learning how to deal with this without it affecting my mindset or my attitude.”

Iga Swiatek on outside expectations: “They really don’t matter that much”

Iga Swiatek on fans' expectationsIga Swiatek on fans' expectations

Iga Swiatek also took on the subject of handling expectations from fans during a press conference at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix earlier this month.

The Pole claimed that she was far more concerned with what she thought of her game compared to the expectations from her fans and detractors alike.

“In terms of the expectations from the outside, that’s it. But I have my expectations. I would say if I feel like I didn’t manage expectations well overall, it’s because I didn’t manage my expectations,” Swiatek said during her pre-tournament presser in Stuttgart. “The ones from the outside, they really don’t matter that much because I made huge work to manage it and to not really care about them.”

Iga Swiatek has been in scintillating form at the Madrid Open this fortnight. The World No. 1, who has yet to triumph at the Caja Magica, dropped just three games in her last two wins. Swiatek will face 11th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarterfinals of the WTA 1000 tournament on Tuesday (April 30).