Wimbledon’s grass surface a tricky proposition for Iga Swiatek


World No. 1 Swiatek the favorite at Wimbledon


Iga Swiatek

Once considered a clay court specialist, Iga Swiatek will be the first to admit that grass is a tricky surface for her. So she says she’s viewing her participation in this year’s Wimbledon Championships with “no expectations.”

Indeed, the World No. 1 and reigning French Open champ’s serve-and-volley game is better suited to clay, which produces bigger bounces and thus allows the 21-year-old Pole to be aggressive and charge the net. But on grassy courts of venues such as the All England Club, where balls tend to skid? Not so much.

So it’s no surprise that her best showing at Wimbledon was last year’s fourth round exit. Her only other singles appearance there yielded a first round elimination in 2019.

But she does have recent history on her side. With her straight-sets victory over Coco Gauff in the French Open final earlier this month, Swiatek won her 35th consecutive match (none on grass), tying her with Venus Williams for the longest such streak in the 21st century. It also marked her second singles title at Roland Garros.

She’s also had success at Wimbledon prior to her entry into the WTA, taking the junior singles title there in 2018. And in the weeks leading up to this year’s tournament, she’s been doing a lot practicing on grass.

Whatever her history, she comes into the year’s third Grand Slam tournament as the overwhelming favorite in a field with top-ranked players such as Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Karolina Pliskova.

The 2022 Wimbledon Championship get underway Monday, June 27, and air for the next two weeks on ESPN, ABC and ESPN2.

Player Profile

Full name: Iga Natalia Swiatek

Birth date: May 31, 2001

Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland

Height/weight: 5 feet 9 inches/152 pounds

Residence: Raszyn, Poland

Family ties: Single; father Tomasz is a former Olympic rower; mother Dorota is an orthodontist; one sister, Agata

Career singles record: 190–49 (as of early June)

Honors and achievements: French Open singles champion (2020, 2022); has a gold medal in doubles at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires; career winnings are $6,396,819

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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