“I grew up aware that the Olympic Games are the main competition. I know that not all tennis players think the same, but for me they are something special. I will fight for a medal. “
This promise of the Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek on the Games to be played next year in Tokyo, formulated just after winning Roland Garros, it is a tribute to his Olympic genes.
They come from his Tomasz, a man who has already turned 56 but who at 24 competed in the Seoul'88 Games In a sport that, so far, has given his country many more successes than tennis: rowing.
The name of Tomasz Swiatek is not among the winners of one of the 18 Olympic medals in Polish rowing, but the father of the new world tennis sensation was an elite athlete, who won gold at the 1987 Universiade in quadruple sculls and that the following year he was selected for the Olympic team. His boat reached the semifinals and finished in seventh position. In the World Cups that same season, the Polish crew was fifth.
“I've always dreamed of going to the Olympics because of my father”, said the brand new winner in Paris, in statements that the page of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) collects. “Next year is the Tokyo Games. Now there will be a lot of pressure on me. I'm glad I won the Youth Games, because they gave me a lot of experience, “added the player.
And is that Swiatek was proclaimed doubles champion in 2018 at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, a competition that brings together the best athletes up to 18 years of age and in which dozens of boys and girls have triumphed and later became absolute Olympic champions. The South African swimmer Chad LeCLos, the Cuban boxer Robeisy Ramírez or the British taekwondo player Jade Jones are just some examples of a list that Swiatek wants to join.
After his victory in the final of Roland Garros, the 19-year-old tennis player dedicated a few words of emotional gratitude to her father, who has given her “basically everything” to make it what it is, he said.
To underline the importance of having a team that has shared experiences, Swiatek also pointed out that he has been working for two years with a psychologist who adds a vast sporting experience to her academic training: former sailor Daria Abramowicz, who practiced sailing for twenty years.
“She understands me from A to Z and makes me better. With her it is easier to handle emotions”, He pointed out about his compatriot.
Iga Swiatez has nine months ahead to prepare what, the IOC page says, would be “The best gift you could give your father: an Olympic medal.”