With two major tennis championship trophies in her case, ranking no. 1 to her name and the longest WTA winning streak this century, 21-year-old Iga Swiatek is quickly showing that she is still young in tennis and the life that comes with it.
“First of all,” she says, “I’m still learning in both areas, tennis and business. It’s important to have balance in every area of my life and work. The business side gives me security, allows me to play tennis. and be focused on that.”
Swiatek, who won her first major title, the French Open, at Roland-Garros in 2020, followed that win with the 2022 French Open title. And during her 2022 run, the Polish player also amassed a winning streak of 37 matches, the longest in this century. All this victory pushed her to the top of the WTA world rankings. It has come quickly for the player who is now wearing head-to-toe Asics gear and shoes and a signature racket from Tecnifibre.
“After winning my first title at Roland-Garros, I had to grow up in a very short time and learn how to act when I have not only sporting responsibilities, but also business,” she says. “That’s why I have created a team of sports and business professionals to have people I can trust on board. I would say that I learned very quickly how to operate in both areas because I am able to manage all interviews, press conferences. or photoshoots and it doesn’t interfere with my stunt performance.”
She credits her team and sponsors for prioritizing her well-being. “Tennis is the foundation of everything and we all have to be on the same page,” she says. “The business side works well when the sports side is balanced and sustainable. That’s our motto.”
Swiatek says that since winning the French Open in 2000, it’s given her a head start on learning to manage expectations, especially during her win-filled 2022. With time to work on processes, rules and framework with partners and associates, she says the goal was to remain happy and balanced in her career. “I don’t need to rush, to have as many sponsors as possible”, she says. “We are doing everything step by step, on and off the field.”
She knows that expectations will always be “very high” and works to manage them with her priorities in mind. With success comes opportunity. Swiatek has signed with the likes of Red Bull, Lexus and Rolex to go with her gear on the field. With such a strong game on the court, Swiatek has translated that to help create her gear, whether it’s her signature frame from the France-based racquet maker or her apparel and footwear with Japan-based Asics.
Swiatek, who wears Asics Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes and often opts for sleeveless tops with a skirt, remains the ultimate tennis woman for Asics.
“I’m totally involved because sportswear is one of the most important things in my job,” she says. “For example, right before the Billie Jean King Cup this year I met with the Asics team in Poland and we were testing my shoes and clothing for the upcoming season.”
She wore practice gear and worked out on the court while the Asics team recorded the tennis session and asked questions. “After the practice I shared my feedback with them and they applied my feedback,” she says. “This is great because I feel like Asics is really keen to take care of my needs in terms of my clothes and shoes.”
But through all of tennis and the business of tennis, Swiatek says balance is the key to making it all work. “When I don’t have time to read a book, I know I’m losing my work-life balance and need to get back to basics,” she says. “So reading books is definitely my passion. I enjoy many different genres from novels to business related books or biographies.”
Her favorite place to get on those pages? Anywhere near the water, so she can mingle in the dorm standing toe between chapters. “No matter where I’m on tour, I always try to find a place where I can rest closer to nature,” she says, “and that’s something that gives me peace and makes me calmer.” This balance of tennis, business and relaxation has proved to be an important part of the young player’s career so far.