Out on the road, just like on the tennis court, I keep an eye on my technique - an interview with Iga Świątek

”I must admit that what I have achieved so far goes beyond all the dreams I had,' says Iga Świątek, the world number one in women's tennis, an impressive classy ambassador of Poland in the international arena and an icon of the young generation. For a brief moment, she puts aside her racket and sports jargon. She talks about life balance, travel, her dream home and the fun of being behind the wheel.

Author: Magda Świć and Izabela Zięba

Photos: Paweł Fabjański

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Iga, we meet on the occasion of a photo shoot with Porsche, moments before the announcement of your official joining the Porsche Friends team. What do you value when you are behind the steering wheel? What do you appreciate the Porsche brand for? 

Even before I had the chance to get into a car as a driver, I liked the design, the tradition of this company and the very inspiring story of its origin. Once I started driving myself, I found out how impressive is, above all, the power of these cars and how much they can do. I had the opportunity to drive a Porsche on the Modlin circuit. When I have a rest between tournaments, I might also visit the Silesia Ring. The experience of driving on a track is definitely very different from driving on a normal road, where the potential of the car cannot be fully realised. The track offers possibilities which the traffic regulations do not allow in everyday situations. Not only did I have a lot of fun driving there, but I also learned a lot about how to control a car with so much power. 

On court you are always very focused and composed, despite the huge emotions involved. We wonder what kind of driver you are? 

I think a good one, although of course it's not for me to judge. In general, I know that I have to watch my technique just as much as on the court. For instance thanks to doing sports, I have the ability to react quickly on the road. I also seem to have a good feel for the car, which I discovered on the track. I was happy that I didn't drive into any bumps (laughing - editor's note). Anyway, you might have a chance to see for yourself how I drive when I am leaving after the photo shoot is over.

Speaking of leaving... We all know you're extremely busy, but if you had no commitments whatsoever, where would you go today? What is your dream destination?

I think I would go to Italy. It's a trip that I could do quite quickly. I'd go to the mountains, enjoy the water... But I'd also like to do a tour of the USA one day, more specifically the West Coast. But of course I'd have to somehow have my car shipped there first.

You are still very young. Apart from your sports accomplishments, you have impressed people with your class, maturity and calmness. Your sporting dream has already come true. But what dreams are still left on your personal wish list? What do you desire for yourself and the world?

There are so many things going on in the world that it is difficult for me to choose just one wish. I believe that we have a lot of potential when it comes to what we ourselves can change in our own lives and by doing so we can have an impact on the environment or other people or even what happens in the places where we live. But as for myself, I must actually admit that what I have already achieved so far goes beyond all the dreams I ever had. I would like to continue playing tennis at the top level and also remember to have balance in my life. I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of perfectionism and wanting to do everything to the best of one's ability all the time... I'd like to pursue my dreams in a quite clever, balanced way, so that I can at least have time to enjoy the fact that I'm travelling or just to get a lot of joy out of it. 

I recently watched an interview you gave at the beginning of your career, at the age of 15. What advice would you give today to that 15-year-old Iga? What would you say to her if you had the opportunity?

This is a difficult question because I know that there comes a time for all things and that everything I've experienced in my life, even if it wasn't positive, has taught me a lesson. Maybe I would tell her to believe more that she can succeed? When I was younger and thinking about the WTA and winning tournaments, it all seemed very abstract to me. Maybe believing more in myself would have given me more confidence that I was going in a certain direction. On the other hand, I've always been the kind of person who worked day in and day out and did everything 100%. And so year after year it was more and more clear to me that I would be able to play tennis well and compete with the best, but somehow it only came later.

You already have a great car, a car needs a garage, and if there's a garage, there must be a house. So what should it be like and where? What type of interiors do you like and feel good about spending time in?

At the moment I'm at the stage of having a flat, so let's not look too far into the future (laughing - editor's note). Although, I know that my dream house definitely has to be by the water, because I relax perfectly by the water and it is a completely different time spent for me than anywhere else. I live in Warsaw, so I try to take advantage of these moments by the water as much as possible mainly when I travel. My dream house should also be spacious and bright... It would be useful to have a big garage and certainly big windows. I like big spaces. I would like people to come to my house and feel at home there.

Do you also like these bright colours when it comes to cars?  

When I first won a Porsche in Stuttgart, I admit that I was a bit afraid to choose a model in a bold colour. Driving around Warsaw as a still young driver, I wanted some privacy, I did not want to be easily recognisable. So I chose a dark colour, but when it comes to my next model, I think I'll go a bit more daring with its colour.

Porsche is celebrating its 75th birthday this year. What kind of 75-year-old do you think you'll be?

I hope that I will then lead a life in which I will remember all my earlier years with satisfaction. I will certainly benefit from not having to do anything anymore, but all in all, I know that I already don't have to do anything in a certain way. I also hope that I will then be surrounded by people close to me and, of course, enjoy this spacious house by the water.

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