To compete at the topmost level of any sport, one must have a strong mental build-up. It is necessary to withstand the immense pressure and expectations of the fans, the coaching team, and the crowd. Moreover, players also have to cope with whatever their opponent throws at them. Tennis, especially, requires players to adapt and strategize on the court, without anyone else to help. The recent success of Iga Swiatek against Simona Halep is not merely due to her exceptional gameplay. The psychological build-up played a significant role in it as well.
Swiatek faced Simona Halep in the fourth round of the French Open 2020. The match was iconic as both these players were meeting for the second time. Back in 2019, Halep had defeated Iga in straight sets. For the youngster, the tie had a psychological aspect attached to it this time around.
Her defeat from the pair’s previous meeting was going through her mind, but she was confident in her ability despite that. Pulling out a stunning straight-set victory, she not only exhibited great skills but also showed real intent and fighting spirit.
Content with her success, Iga credited her psychologist Daria Abramowicz for her success. The Polish youngster expressed how she has shaped her over time.
“I just believe that mental toughness is probably the most important thing in tennis right now because everybody can play at the highest level. So I always wanted to develop in that way. I was working with some other psychologists, two probably when I was younger.
But Daria was the best I could get because she just understands me very well and she knows me very well and she can kind of read my mind, which is weird,” Iga confessed.
“She just made me smarter. I know more about sports and I know more about psychology and I can understand my own feelings and I can say them out loud. She just makes my confidence level higher.”
The youngster from Poland is having a fairy tale run in the Roland Garros. Iga had faced Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the third-round match, and having won that in straight sets, she was confident about putting in a competitive fight against Halep.
In the 2019 edition of the Roland Garros, Halep had humiliated Iga by taking the match in straight sets. The match had concluded within 45 minutes as Iga Swiatek failed to build up proper resistance. She was no match for the far more experienced Romanian.
After a year on the circuit, Iga has accumulated some vital experience. Banking on that, along with a fresh mind, she faced Halep. And even though she had promised a good display, she had never imagined winning in straight sets.
Swiatek will face Martina Trevisan of Italy for a ticket to the semi-finals.