Swiatek and Alcaraz, the diamonds of Roland-Garros | We Are Tennis

For two of its properties, diamond is a highly prized mineral. Its brilliance makes it one of the most expensive precious stones in the world; its hardness, the highest on the planet for a natural material, is sought after to equip drilling machines. Iga Świątek and Carlos Alcaraz are diamonds. With their games, the queen and king of Roland-Garros 2024 dazzle. But their tennis qualities would be nothing without a mind of steel. Or rather, diamond. And, even if it means being completely precise, we now talk more about “emotion management” than “mental” in the jargon of high-level sport.

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic themselves said it during press conferences, they also feel the pressure, the stress, the tension in important moments. No one, not even these three extra-terrestrials, can be from another planet to the point of being able to rid themselves of all human emotion. The difference between the best and the others, as Djokovic has explained several times, lies precisely in the way they manage these emotions. “ Pressure is a privilege “, the Serb often repeated, using the title of a book by Billie Jean King.

Swiatek came within a hair's breadth of exiting in the second round

In this area, Świątek and Alcaraz are masters. They proved it once again during their respective journeys on the ocher of Porte d'Auteuil. Before reaching the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup, the Pole came within a hair's breadth of exiting in the second round. Against Naomi Osaka, she spurned a 5-1 double break opportunity against her in the third set, then found herself 5-2, 0-30 on her serve before having to save a match point at 5-3 commitment Osaka.

I have had many experiences where I felt stress or strong pressuredeclared the world number 1 after her title. But I was able to deal with them, and we can then use this experience when we find ourselves in these situations again. Because you can't just say to yourself: 'Oh, it's my fifth Grand Slam final, it's okay, I'm used to it, I won't have any stress.' No, it doesn't work like that. Experience also helps to manage these situations, that's clear. »

Alcaraz trailed two sets to one in the semi and final

Before hovering the Musketeers cup above his head, Alcaraz also went through areas of turbulence. In the semi-final against Jannik Sinner, he was down two sets to one. Feeling in the first, lost 6-1, the beginnings of cramps due to the tension and the stakes. Exactly like those who made him break last year at the same stage of the competition against Djokovic. “ Yes, I would say that I am mentally strongeranalyzed the Spaniard following his success in front of Sinner. I know how to handle these situations. (…) I learned the lessons from the match against Djokovic, I knew that the cramps would disappear by remaining calm. »

In the final, he once again demonstrated astonishing mental abilities. While the score was 5-3 in his favor in the third set, he lost it 7-5 and found himself trailing two rounds to one. By seeming to lose the thread of the duel: he found external pretexts, a very rare occurrence for him, by grumbling about the state of the court. Until complaining about it to the referee. But, very strong in the noggin, he managed to get up. What very few other players would have managed to do in a Grand Slam final, even less in this way, by sticking a 6-1, 6-2 to an opponent of the caliber of Alexander Zvevrer in the last two acts.

Two titles, and records

Mental strength is very important in these moments, that's why I have success in the fifth sets, I think “, replied the nicknamed “Carlitos” in front of journalists after his coronation. Expert word. He won eleven of his twelve five-round fights on the main circuit. Including two in Grand Slam finals. And in three matches at this level, he has won as many times. Enough to become, at 21 years and 35 days, the youngest player in history to win three Majors on three different surfaces – he won the US Open 2022 and Wimbledon 2023 -, ahead of Rafael Nadal, as the highlighted Game, Set and Math.

Iga Świątek, too, left Paris with her (large) batch of records. She became, after Serena Williams in 2013, the second player to have triumphed in Madrid, Rome and Roland-Garros – the three most prestigious women's tournaments on ocher – during the same season. In the French capital, by putting an end to Jasmine Paolini's adventure, she put her name on the list for the third time in a row. No woman did better, only Justine Henin and Monica Seles did as well. In total, she reigned supreme four times at “Roland”, as many as Henin, to be only two lengths behind Steffi Graff and three behind Chris Evert. And the most “scary” thing is that the Warsaw native is still only 23 years old. Although it already shines brightly, it is a diamond that is still far from being completely polished. Like Carlos Alcaraz.

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