The world’s first racket, Iga Sviontek, did not have very successful recent Masters in Montreal and Cincinnati. The semifinal exits of future champions Jessica Pegula and Corey Gauff cannot be called a complete failure, but still the leader of the WTA rankings was expected to win at least one of the “thousands”.
Now Swiatek is preparing for the US Open, where he will defend last year’s title. In case of a mediocre result, there is a good chance that the Polish tennis player will be displaced from the first place by the Belarusian Arina Sobolenko. Swiatek must definitely perform better than Sobolenko. She didn’t even at one point settle for relegation, as she was recently in the Cincinnati semifinals.
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Iga’s condition ahead of the US Open raises many questions. In Cincinnati, Swiatek admitted that she was very tired and glad to have a few days off to recharge. But it’s not just about fitness. The psychological state of the world’s first scandal cannot be called ideal either.
During the Cincinnati Masters, Swiatek made it clear that criticism from fans hurts him a lot.
“The amount of hate and criticism that my team and I receive even after losing a set is just ridiculous. I want to encourage people to be more thoughtful when they talk online and also to focus on the positive side of what we do. Today I started the match badly (against the Chinese Zheng Qinwen (3:6, 6:1, 6:1) in the third round – approx. “Championship”), but I would like people to see me and understand how I solved the problem . and she got out of trouble. We all sacrifice a lot and work very hard to be where we are. We always give 100% every day,” said Swiatek.
Iga Swiatek at the Cincinnati Masters
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Iga really has a lot of enemies, but the same can be said for any top athlete. The vast majority of stars do not pay attention to haters, and if someone does this, then it is quite appropriate to talk about mental problems.
Interestingly, perhaps the harshest criticism of Sviontek sounds for the choice of a psychologist. There has been a lot of controversy following the release of a recent episode of the Netflix documentary series Break Point.
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At one point, Iga visits the salon to get a haircut. The hairdresser asks the tennis player what kind of hairstyle she wants to do. Swiatek tried to say something, but was interrupted by her personal psychologist Daria Abramovich, who answered the question for her.
“Make it so she can braid her hair later,” Abramovich said.
Sviontek immediately agreed with her and also added a very ridiculous excuse.
“I refuse to sacrifice my hair for tennis because everything else has to be sacrificed,” Iga said.
Daria Abramovich and Iga Swiatek
Photo: From the personal archive of Iga Sviontek.
Abramovich received harsh criticism for his lack of tact and his desire to completely control Sviontek. Iga did not like it and decided to explain himself.
“There everything was set up in such a way that people misinterpreted some situations. We have already discussed this with Netflix; I would like something different to be done. When we watched the episode before the premiere, we could no longer influence the editing. This moment once again convinced me that now I should not act in that series. And I wish people wouldn’t judge me so much because they don’t understand when I use sarcasm. I understand that public sarcasm should not be used, because people do not understand and it only sows hatred. In the haircut scene, I sarcastically said that I would not adjust my hair to play tennis, because I used to cut my hair very short. I have very capricious hair, if the hairstyle is not perfect I cannot control it. Daria reminded me of this. She finally got it by supposedly influencing the way I cut my hair. It isn’t true. People didn’t see the sarcasm and criticized it. It’s nasty. I just wanted to show that our work continues 24/7. Everything we eat and everything we do influences the results,” said Sviontek.
The problem is that the sarcasm in the barbershop scene wasn’t even close. The atmosphere there was very tense, but not happy. Iga wanted to answer the hairdresser’s question, but the psychologist cut him off sharply. Abramovich decided for the tennis player what haircut should be done. Then Swiatek accepted calmly, as if such imposition of someone else’s will was the norm for her.
On the popular The Tennis Letter account, a video of the controversial barbershop moment has garnered more than two hundred thousand views. Fans actively discussed what happened and Swiatek’s comment, where he spoke of “hate”. The psychologist took the brunt of it, but Iga also took the brunt of her softness and inability to make decisions for herself.
“She goes everywhere with her shrink? Lounge, parties, dinner. A bit strange”, “Psychologist Daria controls Iga. We understand how pathetic she is. A story from a personal experience. Once, Iga was training on an indoor court. The fans watched her and tried to take pictures, but the psychologist stopped us. She’s not a nice person at all”, “Sometimes people go too far for fun, but I’m still outraged by the fact that Swiatek uses the word ‘hate’. People express reasonable concerns and criticize Daria’s role in Iga’s life. I don’t like that she calls it “hate”, “The psychologist tries to help and asks to do such a hairstyle so that Iga’s hair can be gathered along her length and does not interfere with her during the game. There is nothing wrong. But the question is, why did he go to her to cut her hair ”,“ It seems that Abramovich has a great influence in Iga. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this in tennis,” the fans wrote.
Daria Abramovich with Iga Swiatek and her coaching staff after winning Roland Garros 2022
Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/Pool/Getty Images
Abramovich has been working with Swiatek since 2019, when the tennis player was still a teenager. Since then, Iga has won 4 Grand Slams and secured the top spot in the WTA rankings. It seems that the result of cooperation is quite productive, but the degree of influence of the psychologist on the athlete really seems excessive to an outside observer.
Arina Sobolenko, who also has a separate episode in the Netflix series, was surprised by Swiatek’s discontent, since tennis players were allowed to make adjustments before the product went on screen if they did not like something.
“Before launch, we were shown an episode and we were able to make changes. I don’t know why he didn’t do that when he saw her episode. I don’t know,” Sobolenko said.
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The answer to the question why Sviontek did not make changes arises by itself. Probably because her psychologist Daria Abramovich wanted the moment in the hairdresser to be exactly as it was shown to the public. Abramovich decided to show that she literally controls Iga in everything, even in the smallest things. She overreacted, because she certainly didn’t expect to be met with harsh criticism. As a result, Sviontek had to justify it and take it out on fans who “sow hate”.
Iga Sviontek is only 22 years old. At this age, many still succumb to the influence of the elders. It is possible that the details of Iga’s relationship with the psychologist exposed to the eyes of the general public will benefit the tennis player. Swiatek should, if not reject Abramovich’s services, reconsider his relations with her. For example, to minimize Daria’s influence on the smallest aspects of her life, like getting a haircut at a salon. And in general, she shows more character, do not hesitate to object to her. Otherwise, there is a risk of mental exhaustion, which will surely manifest itself not only in everyday life, but also on the court. The psychological state of Świątek in the second half of the summer is worrying. The next US Open will show if Iga can solve her problems.