Iga Swiatek stormed to a sixth straight title this season as the Pole won a second French Open title with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat of Coco Gauff on Saturday.
The 20-year-old winner, overcome at times with emotion as the enormity of her achievement sunk in, gave a heartfelt shout-out to neighboring Ukraine during the trophy ceremony.
“To Ukraine, stay strong,” the WTA No. 1 said to the neighboring country which was invaded by Russia on February 24 – 101 days ago. “The war is still there.
“Ever since I made my first (tournament victory) speech in Doha (February) I kept hoping that the situation would get better.
“I still have hopes and I will try and support (Ukraine).”
Swiatek won the Roland Garros major in 2020 with no crowds in the stands due to COVID.
This season she has clocked up titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and Paris.
Her 35 straight victories puts her level with Venus Williams for the third-longest since the start of 1990.
Swiatek is the ninth woman in the Open Era to win multiple RG titles and is the youngest multiple tournament champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006.
The 20-year-old crushed Gauff in 68 minutes, breaking five times and losing her own serve once.
Swiatek lifted the title with the loss of just one set during the Paris fortnight .
She offered encouragement to Gauff, two years her junior.
You are doing an amazing job,” she told the teenager. “When I was your age, it was my first year on the Tour and I had no idea what I was doing.
“I’m sure you will get there.”
She added: “Every piece in my team has finally come together. We have been working ahrd and we all deserve to be here.
“Two years ago I would not have expected to win another Paris title. But this time I have worked hard and done everything to get here.
“It was tough, the pressure was big.”
Gauff, 18, admitted she has a lot to learn after losing the biggest match of her young career.
“What Iga has done is amazing, she totally deserves this trophy. I just hope we can play some other finals.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get this one done today. But when I was down match point the crowd was cheering for me and that means a lot.”
Main photo:- Winner of French Open Iga Swiatek wore a badge on her baseball cap throughout the match supporting Ukraine – by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd.