By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, June 4, 2022
Billie Jean King has played and coached some of the greatest players of all time.
Hall of Famer King sees special qualities in Iga Swiatek, who swept Coco Gauff today to capture her second Roland Garros crown in the last three years.
More: Swiatek Slams Gauff in Roland Garros Final
World No. 1 Swiatek stretched her winning streak to 35 matches equaling Venus Williams for the longest WTA winning streak this century.
So what makes Swiatek so tough to beat?
King says Swiatek’s athleticism, sharpened serve and the fact her groundstrokes are two very different shots—her heavy topspin forehand bounces high while her flatter backhand stays low—are all essential elements that separate the 21-year-old Pole.
“I think they are amazing. I think they are fantastic,” King said of Swiatek and Gauff. “I think they both have different personalities, different games, which I always think is good.
“What makes [Iga] interesting is her forehand is so different from her backhand and her serve is getting better. She’s actually quite quick. I wasn’t sure about her, how fast she was, but she is pretty quick. That’s what you want in a champion. She really wants it.”
Swiatek became just the fifth women’s No. 1 seed in the past 25 years to triumph in Paris.
Gauff said the top-seeded Pole is a complete player and points to Swiatek’s skill taking the ball on the rise and changing direction with drives down the line make her so tough to beat.
“Regarding Iga, I don’t know, I think she does everything pretty well on the court,” Gauff said. “I think probably the best thing I think she does is changing direction really well. Shots that are — you know, I think from playing other players, you’re not used to seeing so many winners down the line off of certain shots, so you’re not prepared to even run in that direction.
“I think she does a good job with that and taking the ball early. I think you have no time. And on clay, it’s something difficult to do. Even the heavy balls that I tried to throw in there, she was taking them early and hitting winners off of them. I think that she does a good job on that.”
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