Swiatek puts studies on the back burner to focus on tennis

PARIS (Reuters) - Polish teenager Iga Swiatek decided to put off going to university for two years in order to try to make it in tennis - a decision which was richly rewarded on Thursday when she reached the French Open final.

Oct 8, 2020; Paris, France; Iga Swiatek (POL) celebrates match point during her match against Nadia Podoroska (ARG) on day 12 at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Any doubts she may have had about whether to put a tennis career above her studies were pretty much put to rest when the 19-year-old became the youngest player to reach the women’s final at Roland Garros in 19 years by thrashing Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-2 6-1.

“Well, right now it’s going to be hard to make a decision to go back to studying because I feel like really I can achieve big things,” Swiatek told reporters. “I just want to focus on that.

“But really I’m only 19, so a lot can change during few years. We are going to see. Maybe I’m going to be hungry for knowledge or anything. I’m not going to make a decision right now.”

Swiatek ousted top seed Simona Halep en route to the final at the claycourt Grand Slam and could become the youngest since Monica Seles in 1992 to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup if she is able to beat Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Saturday.

“Right now it would be hard for me to study in this tournament and after,” she added. “So I’m just going to focus on doing tennis, tennis-related stuff, as good as I can. I’m just going to deal with it later.

“I think if I’m going to be in a few finals of Grand Slams, it would be impossible to study and playing that kind of tennis consistently.”

Swiatek became the first Polish woman to reach the Roland Garros final in 81 years and the first at any major since Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon eight years ago.

“It seems unreal. On one hand I know that I can play great tennis. On the other hand, it’s kind of surprising for me,” she said. “I never would have thought that I’m going to be in the final. It’s crazy.

“I just kept believing in myself. It’s amazing for me. It’s like a dream come true. Basically I was a little bit overwhelmed.

“Actually it’s hard to believe. I think it’s going to hit me after the tournament. Right now I’m just living the dream.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis