Swiatek ‘pretty overwhelmed’ to see Serena back at Wimbledon
The world number one is the favourite to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, but she remains in awe of one of the all-time greats.
Serena Williams’ presence at Wimbledon has left world number one Iga Swiatek “pretty overwhelmed.” Williams is making her long-awaited return to action at the All England Club, as the 40-year-old takes another shot at matching Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam victories.
The American has played only two competitive matches – both alongside Ons Jabeur in the doubles at the Eastbourne International – since she sustained a hamstring tear at last year’s Wimbledon, but is back on a wildcard.
Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon’s women’s singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber, although it seems a long shot for her to be challenging for honours this time around.
That is in part due to the remarkable form of top seed Swiatek, who heads to SW19 on the back of a 35-match winning streak that she is aiming to extend.
The Pole was not born when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1998, but she was the junior champion at the All England Club in 2018 and has since won the French Open twice. She is aiming to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 to win two singles slams in the same season.
Swiatek: “I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to meet her”
Yet Swiatek remains in awe of Williams. “I saw her yesterday, I was pretty overwhelmed,” said Swiatek in a news conference on Saturday.
“I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to meet her. I saw that she had so many people around her. I don’t know her team. It was pretty weird.
“But just seeing her around is great because she’s such a legend, there’s nobody that has done so much in tennis.
“I’m pretty sure that she’s going to be in good shape because she has so much experience coming back from breaks or just playing in grand slams. I think she can use it.”
Swiatek has never progressed past the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon and will be making her first appearance of the season on grass when she takes on Jana Fett on Tuesday.
“Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass,” she said. “Last year for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn’t know what to expect. Then match by match I realised maybe I can do more and more.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. But I’m just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realise that I can play without any expectations.”