World No. 1 and US Open champion Iga Swiatek speaks to CNN en Español about tennis legend and US Open champion Martina Hingis, her career, and her plans to play in the sport’s biggest competition.
Swiatek has played all over the world, becoming the youngest tennis player ever to win the US Open in 2000 at age 19. The Spaniard also won a singles title at the French Open in 1999 and was a runner-up at Wimbledon in 1995, and the US Open in 1998.
In 1996, he won the French Open and the US Open without losing a set.
Swiatek has had a career of ups and downs.
“My greatest achievement is to be successful in sport as a child, when there is no money — no car, no clothes,” he said. “I have been a good person, always happy, always generous, always enjoying life. And when I started in tennis, I had nothing. I had to struggle, struggle to achieve what I had, and it was really hard. But now I have the money that my parents gave me, everything and I have the best coach that my life has ever offered me, and I love everything I am doing. So I think my greatest achievement now is to be successful in sport as a child.”
But, he says, to the disappointment of tennis observers, he never got over the disappointment that he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2000.
“It was a big disappointment for me, but now I think I understand it. I was 21 years old and maybe I was too eager and maybe I didn’t have the patience to wait, or that is the reason. But I learned a lot about life, about myself and now I try to look at it and think it’s a good experience.”
Swiatek has taken it in stride. He has had a career spanning nearly 14 years, and he remains the most decorated male tennis player.
“I think that I came late to my job,” he said, “because if the best players in the world were like me, they would have been there already.”
He also believes there are not just two types of young players.
“I have seen, even today, many times, when the best young players like me were not ready to perform, but now they are. But only in very very few cases.”