Iga Swiatek in the first round of Wimbledon 2023, UK
Iga Swiatek in the first round of Wimbledon 2023, UK | (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Tennis | Wimbledon 2023 | Day One Talking Points: Iga Swiatek talks Radwanska influence as Venus Williams reflects on latest injury scare

By Tony Fairbairn at Wimbledon

  • Iga Swiatek spoke about Agnieszka Radwanska’s influence on her grass court game after winning her opening match
  • Venus Williams suffered another injury scare as she lost in straight sets to Elina Svitolina
  • There were also wins for Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka and Jessica Pegula while Coco Gauff and Felix Auger-Aliassime are out
LONDON, ENGLAND – Iga Swiatek spoke about Agnieszka Radwanska’s influence on her grass court game while Venus Williams reflected on another injury at Wimbledon on day one.


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Swiatek feeling ‘comfortable’ on grass after opening win

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Our day one talking points start with the world number one Iga Swiatek who was victorious in her opening round win over Lin ZhuThe former Juniors champion defeated Zhu 6-1 6-3 in 81 minutes as she moved into the second round where she will face Sara Sorribes Tormo.

After the match Swiatek said in her press conference that she is feeling ‘comfortable’ on grass and spoke about Agnieszka Radwanska’s influence as she is being coached by Radwanska’s former coach.

“Well, I kind of just sat down this year and I tried to remember how we practiced, what we have done these two weeks before Wimbledon. I remember we did a lot of, like, things that were connected to touch and slices, getting back slices,” Swiatek said in her press conference.

“I think it’s great. That’s kind of what Agnieszka Radwanska was using a lot, what my coach kind of taught me that last year. This year I feel like we did more in terms of just like my baseline game, but also footwork I think because I just had more time to try all these things that I practiced on matches in Bad Homburg.

“It’s hard to point one thing because we’re usually working on everything in tennis, you know? But I just feel like it’s easier for it to click this time because I’m not that rusty. I played some matches. I felt like I can do it. Gave me a lot of confidence

“Well, the thing is that last year I just felt like I still have this streak going. After Roland Garros, kind of everybody was talking about that. It was a lot kind of on my shoulders when I got into the tournament. Obviously I tried to kind of just work through it, not really focus on that, what I usually do. Really I’m not looking at numbers or stats. But, yeah, it wasn’t easy, especially having I just played one tournament on grass last year. I think that’s why was a little bit more tricky because I felt, like, rusty, kind of mentally in terms of the focus tennis-wise because I didn’t play any matches on grass.

“I think this year is much more comfortable for me. For sure winning a Grand Slam this year, it feels like I kind of reached my goal. I was really kind of happy and I could celebrate after. But last year, I just felt more expectations. I think that’s the difference.”

Swiatek will look to continue her confidence against Sorribes Tormo on Wednesday and the Pole will feel even more confident as her projected quarter-finalist Coco Gauff is out after losing to Sofia Kenin in three sets.


Venus Williams reflects on injury scare

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Next up it’s all about Venus Williams after the five-time champion lost in straight sets to Elina SvitolinaThe 43 year-old couldn’t fight back after picking up a big injury scare towards the start of the match.

Speaking after the match Williams admitted it was a scary injury and that she needs to take more tests to find out the cause of the problem.

“I’m not sure what I’ve done. I’m going to have to investigate it tomorrow. It’s late today. But it was quite painful,” Williams said in her press conference.

“I think what makes this one hard to process is I’ve had so many injuries. I’ve been missing from tour for quite a while. This is not what I want for myself. This kind of fall, I didn’t do anything wrong. I just went for the ball. There’s nothing I can really do about it.

“Those kinds of things are hard to process emotionally, mentally and physically on the court. I just couldn’t figure it out today. It was just real challenging. I’ve played through a lot of injuries and won a lot of matches injured. It’s almost a specialty of mine. I just couldn’t figure it out today.”

Williams will hope the injury isn’t serious as she will want to play at the US Open at the end of August.



Djokovic overcomes rain and Cachin in opening victory

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On the men’s side Novak Djokovic begun his title defence with a relatively straightforward 6-3 6-3 7-6(4) win over Pedro CachinDjokovic did have to also overcome an hour delay due to a slippery surface on Centre Court but the seven-time champion did so in mature fashion.

After the match Djokovic spoke about the feeling of walking out onto Centre Court again to start the defence of his title.

“But it’s a feeling like no other tournament in the world of walking out on the Centre Court of Wimbledon as a defending champion, on the fresh grass,” Djokovic said in his press conference.

“It’s amazing, amazing to be back to a dream tournament, and to be able to get the first match out of the way. It was a solid performance. I know I can always play better, but at the same time after a long clay court season, coming into Wimbledon without any preparation tournament, lead-up event, any official match on grass, it was kind of expected I still would probably not be in my 100% of the level of my tennis. I’ve been in these situations before, so hopefully as the tournament progresses I’ll raise my level as well.”

Djokovic will look to raise his level when he takes on Jordan Thompson on Wednesday, who defeated Brandon Nakashima in five sets. However there was a defeat for Felix Auger-Aliassime on the men’s side as he lost in four sets to Michael Mmoh.


Azarenka talks growing tennis, Pegula speaks about supportive parents

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There was interesting answers from Victoria Azarenka and Jessica Pegula on two different topics after they reached the second round at Wimbledon. Azarenka battled to a three set win over Yue Yuan and after the match spoke about what is one tradition she would change about tennis.

“Honestly, for me, the important part is, to grow our sport, is to be able to have a bit more predictability with the scheduling that it’s going to be easier for people to follow,” Azarenka said in her press conference.

“So I feel like if that takes maybe to shorten the matches a little bit and have more, when people come, like, okay, I come to the match, it’s going to be from hour and a half to two hours, and then the switch. So I feel like that will bring a little bit more marketing opportunities, and it will help grow our sport.

“I know people say, well, lose the five sets and the marathon matches? It’s a debatable thing, but from a business standpoint, from growing our sport, I feel like it could be a pretty good one. I appreciate the nonfull-white rule for the girls. I think that was an important step. I think that’s very thoughtful. I don’t need to change that. I think the traditions are good, but we do want to innovate sometimes, so I think with the rule of scheduling, there will be couple of things that could be adjusted. For me, that would be that one.”

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As for Pegula, the American defeated Lauren Davis in another three set battle and spoke about how important parenting styles can be in a player’s career.

“I don’t know. It’s tough. For me, to be honest, I think my parents were, like, too involved. They kind of did things differently. Looking back, obviously it worked out,” Pegula said.

“I don’t know. I think I maybe would have went, played more, some things a little bit differently. At the same time you see parents maybe not giving enough guidance. I think my parents always gave me somewhat of guidance, especially my mom. I think as I got older, I was making more my own decisions. I think that’s important. It can go both ways. I think it depends on the personality between the parents and the kids. At the same time I think there’s always like that one parent that maybe went too far.

“At the same time would you be there if they didn’t push you? For me, that was always my dad. We did not get along with tennis stuff. We butted heads a lot. We sometimes butt heads over comments that he says. When I look back, if I didn’t have someone that really pushed me like that, I don’t think I would have been where I am today. Luckily my parents were kind of yin and yang, I kind of had that balance. I think it just depends. I think at a certain point you have to get to that maturity point where you say, I need help or I’m going to make my own decisions.

“Yeah, I would think that if they were players, that would be helpful because they know what you’re going through. Because even I, there’s people that I know, their daughters are younger playing tennis, they’re freaking out. I’m like, Relax, she’s 12, she’s good, she’ll be fine. I think maybe that more mentality would probably I would think help, as long as it’s not like they were putting too much pressure on the person. Again, it just depends on the relationship really.”

Pegula’s growing up and development as a child has clearly helped her career as the fourth seed will now face Cristina Bucsa in the second round.

Dart and Swan have mixed feelings after defeat

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Finally it was defeat for Harriet Dart and Katie Swan as they lost to Diane Parry and Belinda Bencic respectively. After her three set loss to Parry, Dart admitted it was a disappointing defeat and struggled to find the positives.

“Yeah, disappointing result. I didn’t feel like I really ever got going. Yeah, I mean, I thought she started to up her level a bit in the second set,” Dart said.

“Made it difficult for me. But I still felt like my level was pretty poor today. I felt pretty poor out there. What’s amazing was I had a chance to win playing not great tennis. I still feel like I have so much to improve on. I’ve had a really good grass court season. It’s just disappointing that my worst match of the grass court season came here. Naturally being British, you want to play well here. Yeah, today, I don’t know, I just didn’t really get going. She also made it tricky for me. Credit to her, she played better tennis than me today.”

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Swan felt pride about her defeat to Bencic where she pushed the 14th seed to a close first set before losing comfortably.

“Yeah, I was excited when I saw the schedule. Court 2 is the biggest court I have played on here. Yeah, I was really looking forward to it,” Swan stated.

“I was so nervous like 10 minutes before I walked on. I felt like my whole body shaking, but I was actually quite pleased with the way that I started, considering, and kept it tight pretty much all the way through that first set. Had chances, as well.

“Just didn’t play well enough in the big moments. But, yeah, she’s a great player. I knew it was going to be tough. Yeah, there’s positives to take from it and also lots to learn and take forward.”



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