Iga Swiatek facing ‘big challenge’ on grass, says former German Fed Cup captain
Former WTA ace Barbara Rittner believes Iga Swiatek faces a ‘big challenge’ in translating her clay and hard court form onto grass at Wimbledon.
Swiatek has been so dominant on the WTA Tour this year that she has already amassed enough points to qualify for the end-of-season finals.
She heads to Wimbledon later this month searching for a first Grand Slam title away from Roland Garros, but Rittner does not believe it will be easy for the Pole.
“The biggest challenge now is the grass,” Rittner told the Das Gelbe vom Ball Podcast. “Iga has shown what she is able to do on hard courts, has impressively proven that she can continue seamlessly on clay.
“Clay has always been her best surface. On grass, she lost to Ons Jabeur in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year – admittedly in three sets, but 1-6 and 1-6 in the second and third set.
“On the other hand, she won the youth tournament there in in 2018 as well.
“So, it will be interesting to see how she manages the switch to grass now and whether she can bring that focus and that dominant way of playing to the next surface.”
Iga Swiatek heads to Wimbledon without any grass court preparation having chosen to skip the lead-up events.
She arrives in imperious form, though, and on the back of a commanding performance at the French Open.
“It was remarkable how she managed to deal with these unbelievably high expectations at just 21 years of age,” Ritter said.
“She has given the last proof of how good she is and what she is able to achieve. She showed that she can find ways to deal with difficult situations even during the tournament.
“She didn’t play her best tennis from the start, and struggled a bit in the third round, then didn’t win so easily afterwards, but then played her very best tennis in the semi-final and final – she didn’t give Jessica Pegula or Coco Gauff the slightest chance.
“She herself described what the title means to her, how valuable it is. In doing so, she impressively underlined the dominant role the number one in world tennis is in right now, not only in terms of her game, but also mentally.”
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