She is a bashful Rafael Nadal fan and a lover of the driving, hard rock of Led Zeppelin and Guns N' Roses who maintains a teenage debt to Taylor Swift.

But Iga Swiatek is also the undisputed queen of women's tennis with a passion for literature and for keeping the plight of Ukraine in the spotlight.

On Saturday, the 22-year-old Pole captured her third French Open and fourth major, cementing her place as the sport's leading power in a post-Serena Williams world.

She was typically gracious and modest after her three-set win over Karolina Muchova.

"Even though it's an individual sport. I wouldn't be here without my team so thank you guys. Sorry for being such a pain in the ....!"

Like her idol Nadal, Swiatek, is acutely conscious of her responsibilities off the court as well as on it.

Last July, she organised a benefit exhibition for humanitarian causes in neighbouring Ukraine, the flag of whose country is represented in the ribbon she has permanently attached to her cap when she plays.

The event in Warsaw raised more than $500,000.

"It's pretty obvious that we should support Ukraine. I will do that until the war is going to end," she insisted.

It was in Australia that Swiatek played her first Grand Slam in 2019, reaching the second round. A few months later, she only lasted 45 minutes in the round of 16 against Simona Halep on her French Open debut.

It all started coming together in 2020 -- a fourth round in Melbourne, a third round at the US Open and then her first French Open which was also her first title of any sort as a professional.

That propelled her into the top 20 in the world. She also graduated from high school.

"Before, tennis was not the main part of her life. It was difficult. Imagine - practice at seven in the morning, because she had to go to school afterwards. And she arrived tired, because she had had to study at night," said Piotr Sierzputowski, her coach at the time.

Swiatek remains scholarly, devouring "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", a New York Times bestseller by Yuval Noah Harari while in Paris last year.

She then started Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers".

- Kravitz and Taylor Swift -

Her musical tastes are more modern. This year, she arrived on court for her early rounds listening to Lenny Kravitz.


Keep a lid on it: Iga Swiatek is helped by French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton to replace the lid on the trophy after she accidentally dropped it / © AFP

"Usually I'm listening to more rock. Not too hard, but the bands that are kind of mainstream, and they have a lot of energy in their songs," she said with a hat-tip to Taylor Swift.

"When I was younger and kind of confused about life, I listened to her, I didn't feel alone. Also, I learned English by listening to her songs."

Swiatek has touted the virtues of working with a psychologist who helps her prepare for her matches.

"She made me smarter. Thanks to her, my confidence level is higher," said the Pole in 2020.

"Mental strength is particularly important. At the top level, everyone is capable of playing well, but the best are those who are strongest in the head."

Swiatek, who also won the US Open in 2022, was described as a "beast of the competition" by Sierzputowski.

"When she enters the court, she is ready for anything... she has a hunger for victories."

Born in Warsaw, Swiatek came to tennis because she wanted to beat her big sister.

A competitive spirit no doubt inherited from her father, Tomasz Swiatek, a former rower who took part in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

This early competitive mindset allowed her to win the first professional tournament she played, in 2016 in Stockholm, on the secondary ITF circuit.

Two years later, after several months out with an ankle injury, she lifted the junior trophy at Wimbledon in singles and at the French Open in doubles.

Now, with 14 titles on the main circuit, and nudging $20 million in prize money, the rocking, rolling Pole is securely in place on top of the tennis charts.