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Iga Swiatek Shares Key to Grass-Court Transition

Iga Swiatek of Poland plays for her first Wimbledon final this month. Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Iga Swiatek’s stomach is settled. Now she’s focusing on stabilizing her feet for an extended Wimbledon run.

Meeting with the media at Wimbledon today, Swiatek said she’s recovered from the upset stomach or food poisoning issue that forced to withdraw from her maiden grass-court semifinal at Bad Homburg.

The four-time Grand Slam champion expects to be “fine” for her No. 1 Court opener vs. Lin Zhu on Monday.

“I’m okay. I had a really bad night,” Swiatek said. “We did with my conditioning coach like measurements in the morning. They didn’t really look good because I barely slept.

“I had a stomachache, but I don’t know if there was something wrong or not. Later in the day I felt okay, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fine.”

What is the key to three-time Roland Garros champion Swiatek surpassing the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time in her fourth SW19 appearance?

The top-seeded Swiatek said it starts from the ground up.

Swiatek said she produce proactive footwork because she feels it’s tougher to stop and plant on grass coming out of a slide and because the ball bounces lower on grass than on clay requiring her to bend lower particularly on her western-grip forehand.

“I think mainly I’m focused on footwork because that’s I think where my strength is on other surfaces,” Swiatek said. “For sure sliding is tricky here, so you have to slow down and stop before the shot in a different way.

“I feel like if you have time to adjust to the surface and then use your intuition on matches, I was able to do that a little bit in Bad Homburg. I think it’s going to be fine. But the thing is, last year when I didn’t play any matches before Wimbledon, it was hard to use my intuition because there was pressure.”

In addition to precise footwork, Swiatek said grass demands trusting intuition and improvisational skills.

“I felt like I’m playing a Grand Slam, and I played so well in Roland Garros that I should play well here as well,” Swiatek said. “But it’s different. Your brain kind of has to kind of feel the ball is bouncing lower. You can’t think about things like that during the match.

“So I think this year, it’s going to be a little bit easier for me to use my intuition a little bit more.”