With two major championship tennis trophies in her case, the world No. 1 ranking to her name and the longest WTA winning streak of this century, 21-year-old Iga Svetek is quick to point out that she is still new to both tennis and the life that comes with it.
“First of all,” she says, “I’m still learning in both areas, tennis and business. It is important to have balance in every area of my life and work. The business gives me security, it gives me the opportunity 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 French Open title in 2022. And during her 2022 run, the Polish player also accumulated 37 game winning streak, the longest this century. All of these victories shot her to the top of the WTA World Rankings. It came quickly for the player, who now wears head-to-toe Asics clothing and shoes and sports a signature Tecnifibre racquet.
“After I won my first title at Roland Garros, I had to grow up in a very short time and learn how to work when I have not only sporting but also business responsibilities,” she says. “That’s why I built a team of sports and business professionals, to have people I can trust. I would say that I learned quite quickly how to work in both areas, because I can manage all the interviews, press conferences or photo shoots and it does not interfere with my work in the bud.”
She admits that her team and sponsors prioritize her well-being. “Tennis is at the heart of everything and we all have to be on the same page,” she says. “Business works well when sport is balanced and stable. That’s our motto.”
Swiatek says that after winning the French Open in 2000, it gave her a head start to learn to manage expectations, especially in a win-filled 2022. With time to work on processes, rules and a framework with partners and colleagues, she says the goal was to stay happy and balanced in her career. “I don’t need to rush, to have as many sponsors as possible,” she says. “We take everything one step at a time, on and off the court.
She knows that expectations will always be “too high” and works to manage them while keeping her priorities straight. With success comes opportunity. Swiatek has signed with Red Bull, Lexus and Rolex to go with his gear on the court. With such a powerful game on the court, Swiatek has translated that to help craft her own gear, whether it’s the signature frame from the France-based racquet maker or her apparel and footwear with Japan-based Asics.
Swiatek, who wears the Asics Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes and often opts for sleeveless tops with skirts, remains the ultimate tennis player for Asics.
“I am fully committed because sportswear is one of the most important things in my work,” she says. “For example, just before the Billie Jean King Cup this year, I met with the Asics team in Poland and we tested shoes and apparel for next season.”
She wore trial 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 implemented my comments,” she says. “It’s great because I feel like Asics really cares about my clothing and shoe needs.”
But throughout 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 like many different genres from novels to business related books or biographies.’
Her favorite place to browse these pages? Anywhere near water so it can interfere with paddle boarding. “No matter where I’m on tour, I always try to find a place where I can relax closer to nature,” she says, “and it’s something that gives me peace and makes me more relaxed.” That balance in tennis, business and leisure has so far proved to be an important part of the young player’s career.