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Friday, April 23, 2021

For Ada Forbort Swiatek, a Decade of Achievements Proves Nothing

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She’s bound and determined — like a dragon slayer, a smart tank with plenty of armor, a cat with a six-pack.

Iga Swiatek holds court in the afternoon sunshine at the Forbath Club, where she will play the final match against Sofia Kenin, the unseeded American heptathlete, on Saturday at the French Open tennis tournament.

She has been waiting all week for the chance to be interviewed, strolling slowly across the clay court after each practice, smiling, and waiting with purpose.

She just might cause another upset on Saturday: a victory over Kenin, a 39th-seeded American who is making her debut in the top 20, would be her 10th Grand Slam singles title, tying the record of Australian Margaret Court.

Despite that accolade, she grumbles about competing in a circuit dominated by men. She views men’s tennis as outdated and a product of an archaic society. “How can men keep going when they are being discriminated against,” she said during an afternoon interview in her room at the Forbath Club.

She looks thoughtful when she talks of the sport that has a heartbeat only among the men: “It doesn’t matter,” she said of her racket, “which gender is playing.”

I don’t have much of a take on tennis — or on women’s sports in general. I would only like to point out that after winning three Grand Slam singles titles, all of them in the last seven years, and a doubles title in a tournament in Switzerland, it seems unfair that she doesn’t make more money, that her success has gone unnoticed and that she has not received more attention for her accomplishment.

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