Tennis-Inexperienced Swiatek glad to fly under radar at Wimbledon

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FILE PHOTO: WTA 500 - Eastbourne International
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By Sudipto Ganguly

(Reuters) - Iga Swiatek is looking forward to competing at Wimbledon without carrying any burden of expectation as she feels she needs more experience on grass to become a title contender.

After winning her maiden French Open title last October, the 20-year-old Pole has seen her life turned upside down with the media attention that comes with being a Grand Slam champion.

Her results have been solid and she has broken into the top 10 in the rankings but she has complained in the past about struggling to cope with attention heaped on her following her unexpected triumph at Roland Garros.

With the grasscourt season wiped out last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swiatek said after her French Open quarter-final exit earlier this month that she was not sure she even remembered how to play on grass.

"Actually it's kind of nice because I can play without any expectations," Swiatek told reporters on Saturday.

"After all that fuss that was around during clay season, during Roland Garros, as I was playing as the defending champion, it's just easier actually. I'm enjoying it.

"Maybe my tennis is not going to be as good as in other tournaments, but I'm feeling great and I'm pretty happy to be here and to have opportunity."

Swiatek, who won the junior Wimbledon singles in 2018, is seeded seventh at the grasscourt Grand Slam and will begin her campaign against the unorthodox Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan.

The Pole feels the rankings do not matter when it comes to playing on grass.

"Even though I'm, like, seventh seed, I don't give myself more pressure because I know that I don't have experience," Swiatek said. "I just try to learn as much as possible.

"I'm just aware that I haven't been practising on grass for a long time because I played finals of doubles at Roland Garros.

"It's important part of the season, but it's more important for me to learn and not to get any, like, huge results because I think the work that I'm going to do here is going to give effects in a few years. Yeah, you just need experience on grass basically."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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