Iga Swiatek's breaks Serena Williams' WTA Finals record

Iga Swiatek's breaks Serena Williams' WTA Finals record

Tennis star Iga Swiatek stormed to the 2023 WTA Finals crown and shattered several records in the process. A rain-interrupted and wind-affected event in Cancun did not stop the 22-year-old from dominating the field to claim the title without dropping a set.

The win marked the Pole’s first time winning the season-ending championships and in the process enabled her to finish the campaign as the World No. 1 for the second straight year. She is the sixth youngest woman to finish the year as the top-ranked player in back-to-back seasons. Swiatek’s latest title win was significant for some other reasons. She broke a record en route to the crown, which was held by the great Serena Williams.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion won the WTA Finals on five occasions, the last of which came in 2014, which was her third in a row. After defeating Jessica Pegula in the final, Swiatek beat the 42-year-old’s record of conceding the least number of games en route to winning the WTA Finals.

The French Open champion won the crown after losing just 20 games, beating Williams’ record of 32 games conceded. The WTA’s top-ranked player did not have the opportunity to play Serena during her illustrious 27-year career. But in 2022, Swiatek spoke at length about Williams' legacy before the tennis icon played her last-ever tournament at the 2022 US Open.

 “She's such a legend,” the three-time major winner said. “And I'm pretty sad on one hand that I wasn't able to kind of play against her. And maybe I'm going to have a chance. But to kind of be on a tour where she was, you know, winning everything. But on the other hand, I would probably be the player that loses in the quarterfinal against her, so I'm okay with that!”

Swiatek also joined Williams and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova as the third player to win a title across all levels in the same season. The American achieved the feat in 2013, while the Czech player did it in 2011, the year she claimed her first Wimbledon title.

Along with the WTA Finals in 2023, Swiatek claimed the French Open (Grand Slam), the Beijing crown which is a WTA Masters 1000 title, Doha (WTA 500), and a WTA 250 event in Warsaw, the capital of her home country, Poland. After losing just one game in the final against Pegula, Swiatek set another record by conceding the fewest games in the final of the prestigious end-of-year tournament. Though every tennis player appreciates hitting landmarks that nobody else has reached, Swiatek, who is now the fourth player to win the WTA Finals before the age of 23, has previously said records are not something that drives her. “Honestly, I don’t even know these records,” she said during the 2023 French Open.

“I play tennis but I’m not really an expert in terms of statistics and history, so I’m not really focused on that. I’m kind of living in a different world, I feel. I never even played Serena or, you know, Monica Seles. So, yeah, I’m kind of living my own life and having my own journey.”