At 21, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek is still “learning” the tennis business

With two major tennis trophies to her credit, world No. 1 to her name and the longest WTA winning streak this century, 21-year-old Iga Swiatek is quick to point out that she is new to both tennis and life comes with it.

“First of all,” she says, “I’m still learning in both areas, tennis and business. It is important to have a balance in all areas of my life and work. The business side gives me security, it allows me to play tennis and focus on that.”

Swiatek, who won her first major title, the French Open, at Roland-Garros in 2020, followed that win with the 2022 French Open title. And during her run in 2022, the Pole also amassed a 37-game winning streak, the longest of this century. All of these victories propelled her to the top of the WTA world rankings. Things have moved fast for the player, who now wears head-to-toe Asics clothing and shoes and a signature Tecnifibre racquet.

“After winning my first Roland Garros title, I had to grow up in a very short time and learn how to function when I have not only sporting responsibilities but also business responsibilities,” she says. “That’s why I built a team of sports and business professionals to have people on board that I can trust. I’d say I learned how to work in both fields pretty quickly because I’m able to manage all interviews and press conferences or photo shoots and it doesn’t affect my sprot performance.”

She credits her team and sponsors for prioritizing her well-being. “Tennis is a foundation for everything and we all have to be on the same page,” she says. “The business side works well when the sporting side is balanced and stable. That’s our motto.”

Swiatek says she’s had a head start in learning how to manage expectations since winning the French Open in 2000, especially in victorious 2022. With time to work with partners and peers on processes, rules and frameworks, it has been her goal to stay happy and balanced in her career. “I don’t need to rush to get as many sponsors as possible,” she says. “We do everything step by step, on and off the pitch.”

She knows that expectations will always be “too high,” and she works to manage them while keeping her priorities straight. With success comes opportunity. Swiatek have signed with the likes of Red Bull, Lexus and Rolex to match their on-pitch gear. With such a strong game on the pitch, Swiatek has translated this to help create their own gear, be it the French racquet manufacturer’s signature frame or their Asics clothing and shoes from Japan.

Swiatek, who wears Asics Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes and often opts for sleeveless tops with a skirt, remains the top tennis player for Asics.

“I’m totally into it because sportswear is one of the most important things in my job,” she says. “For example, just before the Billie Jean King Cup this year, I met up with the Asics team in Poland and we tested shoes and my clothes for next season.”

Wearing pro gear, she trained on the court while the Asics team recorded the tennis session and asked questions. “After the training, I gave them my feedback and they implemented my comments,” she says. “It’s great because I feel like Asics is really keen to take care of my needs in terms of my clothes and shoes.”

But with all tennis and the tennis business, Swiatek says balance is key to making everything work. “If 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.”

Your favorite place to view these pages? Somewhere near water so she can fit stand up paddle boarding between chapters. “No matter where I’m touring, I always try to find a place where I can relax closer to nature,” she says, “and that’s something that gives me peace and makes me calmer.” That balance between tennis, business and relaxation has so far proved to be an important part of the young player’s career.

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