Iga Swiatek: “Until I was 17 or 18, it was hard sometimes to look people in the eyes; there was a time when speaking to people was a real challenge”

Iga Swiatek has firmly placed herself as the WTA player to beat these days, delighting fans with her marvelous shots on the tennis court as well as her bubbly personality off it. But by her own admission, the 21-year-old was not always so confident in either domain.

Writing for the Players’ Tribune, the World No. 1 revealed this unknown side of her, stating that she was never one of those kids who dreamt about being a successful tennis player growing up. Instead, Swiatek only dreamed about breaking out of her own introversion, recalling that it was a “real challenge” for her to talk to strangers.

The three-time Grand Slam champion, in fact, disclosed that when she was a teenager, she had difficulties even looking people in the eye, making life unbelievably hard for her.

“You might imagine that I stayed up all night as a kid dreaming about being a big tennis player, but no. To tell you the truth, at night, I dreamed about feeling a bit more natural in social situations,” Iga Swiatek said. “There was a time in my life when I was so introverted that speaking to people was a real challenge. Until I was 17 or 18, it was hard sometimes to look people in the eyes. I hated how hard it was for me.”
Iga Swiatek, however, made made it clear that she had no regrets about that particular phase of her life, as troubling as it was. Just because her story isn’t similar to that of most other athletes, the Pole doesn’t think she should feel any embarrassment about it.

“It felt really bad not being able to make connections,” Iga Swiatek said. “But with some people, my mind was just blank, and I didn’t know what to say. Small talk wasn’t natural to me. My story isn’t like a lot of other athletes, and that’s okay.”
The 21-year-old also revealed that she didn’t instantly fall in love with the sport, remarking that although she loved tennis a lot to begin with, she did not have any particular dreams about making it big on the professional stage.

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