‘It’s harder to deal with success than losing,’ says Iga Swiatek ahead of French Open defence

Iga Swiatek says she has found it harder to deal with her successes than she ever did her failures as she prepares to defend her French Open title.

The 19-year-old was a surprise winner at Roland Garros last year, but she has backed that up with more fine performances this season.

In her most recent event, she thrashed Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in the final of Rome, meaning the spotlight will once again be on her in Paris.

“When you win a Grand Slam everybody will always remember that you won a Grand Slam,” Swiatek told BBC Sport.

“I don’t think of it like I have to defend the trophy and win the French Open because what I did is always going to be with me.”

Swiaktek is quite revolutionary, for her age-group at least, in her use of a sports psychologist, with her using the talents of Daria Abramowicz to try to give herself a mental edge over others.

And, ahead of her first major title defence, she says that side of her preparation is more important than ever.

“Daria helped me a lot with all the expectations and all the stuff that was bothering me after the French Open because actually, I realised that sometimes it’s harder to deal with success than the times you are losing.

“Sometimes with my own expectations it’s hard but then I have to remind myself that I just have to focus on work and just remember why I play tennis and have fun on court, because sometimes I feel like I’m not playing for myself and that’s not a good thing.

“I just have to find that space where I just calm myself and remind myself that hopefully in two years I’m just going to be constantly in that mood when I just don’t worry and I’m just having fun, because I think that’s what the biggest champions do, they just don’t care and they just play and focus on their job.”

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