One Step in Four Long Journeys: Świątek, Garcia, and Mladenovic Triumph at Roland-Garros

The second major of the 2022 Tour is over, but the stories of the athletes at its center are anything but.

By Alexandra Cadet

Another Grand Slam tournament is in the books. The French Open ended last weekend, with Iga Świątek dominating in the singles division and Garcia/Mladenovic clinching the doubles trophy.

She’s Unstoppable

Iga Świątek is on top once again. The Poland native captured the French Open title for the second time ever last Saturday; in doing so, she not only held onto her No. 1 ranking, but also extended her match-winning streak to a record-setting 35. She confirmed her win by defeating Coco Gauff in straight sets during the final, adding another achievement to her already-stacked resumé.

Świątek’s triumph becomes even more impressive in light of the hardships she faced after her previous French Open win in 2020. ‘Last year wasn’t easy for me. […] I felt my whole world had turned upside down after winning Roland Garros in 2020,” she wrote in a recent column for BBC. “There were lots of expectations in 2021 from myself and other people. Everyone wanted to see if I was as good as my result [there].” If her excellence at the Open (and on this year’s tour as a whole) is any indication, Świątek’s win two years ago was no fluke. She’s making history in spite of any doubters and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.

She’ll Be Back

Losing one final brings enough heartache, but losing two in a row? That’s gotta be crushing. Sadly, that’s what happened to Coco Gauff in France; she was defeated by Świątek in the singles division, and then lost alongside Jessica Pegula to French duo Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in the doubles final. It was an unfortunate ending to what has been yet another breakout tournament for the eighteen-year-old.

Gauff / (Image from of Insider)

But rest assured: she’ll be back. Gauff got second place in both divisions of a Grand Slam tournament, which is already a sign of her immense talent. The fact that she did it at only eighteen years old––and became the youngest woman to make a Grand Slam final since Maria Sharapova in 2004––suggests that so long as she stays the course, tennis fans will be hearing her name for years to come. 

“For a while I really believed that I couldn’t do it, just because ever since I was 15 and I first came on, people had so [many] expectations for me […]” Gauff said to NBC. “I made a final, and I wasn’t expecting it. I know that I’ll get this opportunity again.” The suffocating expectations that Gauff described sound a lot like Świątek’s woes after her initial Grand Slam success. Similar to Świątek, Gauff will likely break out again in exciting fashion––and when she does, her 2022 French Open run will be seen as the true arrival of a star.

They’re Reunited
Reunited, and it feels so good! After a six-year wait, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic triumphed at the Roland-Garros yet again, staging a comeback against Gauff and Pegula in the final. Garcia and Mladenovic braved a decent amount of on- and off-court turmoil after their last Roland-Garros title in 2016. But after qualifying for this year’s tournament as wildcards, the two were in complete sync––and now have the silverware to prove it. 

The fact that Garcia and Mladenovic were on home turf makes their win all the sweeter. “It’s lots of emotion, the crowd, the energy, it was just amazing to witness that and to have this experience on court,” Mladenovic shared with WTA Insider. “To have all these amazing memories is just something unique.” But arguably, Roland-Garros is more than just a cherished memory for the two women, as well as Gauff and Świątek. It represented the continuation of successful careers for all four of these athletes––on this year’s Tour, and beyond.

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