French Open: Swiatek feeling a whole lotta love after reaching Roland Garros final

By Sports Desk June 02, 2022

Iga Swiatek produced heavy metal tennis to destroy Daria Kasatkina's French Open hopes in a brutal semi-final performance, then revealed she was inspired by listening to Led Zeppelin.

Swiatek, who is reading the Alexander Dumas novel The Three Musketeers while in Paris, is hoovering up classic culture at a young age.

The 21-year-old has made no secret of her love for hard rock and rates AC/DC among her favourite bands.

Rather than search for focus by listening to chillout music or meditation tapes, Swiatek plays by her own rules and served up a 6-2 6-1 thumping of Kasatkina after indulging in a little Page and Plant.

"I try to treat every match the same way, because if I realise this is one of the biggest matches of the season it can stress me out. So I'm trying to focus on the tasks and I listen to music when I work out," Swiatek said in an on-court interview.

Asked which artist she was listening to, Swiatek said: "Led Zeppelin. It's really helping me out so I can start with being proactive. I use everything to help me."

Swiatek won the 2020 French Open final as an outsider ranked 54th in the world, but she is a hot favourite to be champion this year after climbing to number one.

Friday's win was a 34th in succession for the Polish player, who has won five tournaments in that run.

She said: "It's a pretty special moment, and I'm really emotional. I'm so grateful to be in that place and be healthy and be able to play my game. It's amazing and I love playing here."

She is feeling plenty of love from the Roland Garros crowds, particularly a strong contingent from Poland.

"It's easier to play matches with that kind of support, and I've had that in every place I've played this year and it's still surprising for me," she said.

"When I started playing the WTA, basically right after my first year it was COVID and I wasn't able to see how many Polish people would come, and it's still overwhelming and it surprises me how much they're supporting."

As well as being open about her musical heroes, Swiatek is unabashed in making clear her affection for Rafael Nadal, the 13-time French Open winner who is through to another semi-final this fortnight after beating Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.

"He's inspiring me in every aspect, on court and off court, because he's so humble and down to earth," Swiatek said.

"He's the kind of guy who's always saying hi, and it's amazing because it seems the success didn't change him and he's still the same, a great person.

"When I watched this year's Australian Open final [against Daniil Medvedev] it was just amazing. Even I had doubts and I could see how he was trying to find solutions and trying to get better during the match, and he did and he won, so he's a huge inspiration. Not only here but on every court, it's just great to watch him play."

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