World number one Swiatek blames fatigue for shock Wimbledon exit

Swiatek won a fourth French Open and fifth Grand Slam title last month, but she felt the strain of that clay-court triumph by the time she arrived at the All England Club

Published - July 08, 2024 03:16 am IST - London

In this handout photo issued by AELTC, Iga Swiatek of Poland attends a press conference, after losing to Yulia Putintseva Kazakhstan in the third round of the Ladies’ Singles on No.1 Court during day six of The Championships Wimbledon 2024 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2024 in London, England.

In this handout photo issued by AELTC, Iga Swiatek of Poland attends a press conference, after losing to Yulia Putintseva Kazakhstan in the third round of the Ladies’ Singles on No.1 Court during day six of The Championships Wimbledon 2024 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2024 in London, England. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Iga Swiatek admitted she was running on empty at Wimbledon as the exhausted world number one suffered a shock third round defeat against Yulia Putintseva on Saturday.

The top seed's 21-match winning streak came to a stunning end on Court One as Russian-born Kazakh Putintseva battled to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Swiatek won a fourth French Open and fifth Grand Slam title last month, but she felt the strain of that clay-court triumph by the time she arrived at the All England Club.

Unable to summon up the energy required to subdue the feisty Putintseva, the Polish star once again flopped at Wimbledon, where she has never gone beyond the quarter-finals.

"For sure, I felt like my energy level went down little bit in the second set. I couldn't really get back up," she said.

"My tank of really pushing myself to the limits became suddenly empty. I was kind of surprised. But I know what I did wrong after Roland Garros. I didn't really rest properly.

"I'm not going to make this mistake again. After such a tough clay court season, I really must have my recovery.

"I need to recover better after the clay court season, both physically and mentally. Maybe next year I'm going to take a vacation and literally just do nothing."

Swiatek, a four-time French Open winner, has never thrived on the All England Club grass.

'I was playing fearless'

Asked to explain her struggles in south-west London, she said: "Actually, this part of the season is not easy because we're switching surfaces.

"For me going from this kind of tennis where I felt like I'm playing the best tennis in my life to another surface where I kind of struggle a little bit more, it's not easy."

Losing to the diminutive Putintseva was especially painful after their clash at Indian Wells earlier this year.

Putintseva was ticked off by the chair umpire for moving from side to side as Swiatek shaped to serve.

Describing herself as "a gangster on court and angel off it", Putintseva even threw in a collection of underarm serves.

"Maybe they teach that in Kazakhstan," a grumpy Swiatek said at the time.

Swiatek was grudging in her praise for Putintseva after their latest meeting, saying: "I totally let her come back to the game in the second set. I shouldn't have done that.

"I made some mistakes, as well. But for sure, she used her chance."

Putintseva was also frosty when quizzed on her relationship with her Swiatek.

"No, I don't know her. She never, at least what I see, she always like in her zone with her team," she said.

"She don't talk much to anyone. I mean, I'm not entering that bubble."

Unlike Swiatek, Putintseva has adapted well to grass and won on the surface in Birmingham just before Wimbledon.

"It just clicked. At some point I was playing fearless," she said.

"I have nothing to lose, just go for it. She didn't lose it. I took it."

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.