Iga Swiatek: The Polish teen who broke the mould!
It was way back in 1990 that a sixteen-year-old girl from Yugoslavia named Monica Seles became the youngest-ever player to win the French Open singles title. In fact, as a teenager, she went on to win eight Grand Slam titles and showed the potential to win many more. However, her tennis career was ruined badly by a fanatical Steffi Graf fan who could not bear to see his idol lose to Monica and stabbed the latter on her back. After her recovery, Monica did make an appearance on the tennis courts and even won a Grand Slam title but she could never be her old self ever again.
Ever since Monica, no female teenager could ever win a Grand Slam singles title until nineteen-year-old Iga Natalia Swaiatek from Poland created a flutter to emerge as the new queen of Roland Garros. In the process, she became the first-ever Polish tennis player to win a singles Grand Slam title and also the lowest WTA ranked player ever to win the French Open singles title. Her title was embroiled in some other wonderful achievements, as well. To begin with, she did not drop a single set on her way to the title, she did not lose more than five games in any of her matches and in her entire journey to the title she lost a total of only 28 games; a better record being held by none other than the legendry Steffi Graf whose record of losing just 20 games in 1988 may never be equalled ever.
It was only in last year’s French Open that Iga suffered a fourth round defeat at the hands of Simona Halep and the 6-1, 6-0 defeat was a total dissemination of Iga’s hopes. However, the teenager had her revenge when in the same fourth round, this year in the French Open, she defeated the top-seeded Simona with a score line of 6-1, 6-2. Iga’s path to the final of the French Open was not an easy one as in the very first round her opponent was last year’s runner-up Marketa Vondrousova but if coming events cast their shadows before it was obvious as Iga defeated Marketa 6-1, 6-2 on her march to the title.
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Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar has been associated with The Teenager Today for more than 50 years; initially as a reader and later as a contributor on varied topics. Having worked in the Indian Air Force and in India’s oldest company, Forbes & Company Limited, he is now practising as a lawyer in Nainital High Court.