On one side of the court, celebrations were in order as 19-year-old Iga Swiatek rewrote history and conquered her country’s first Grand Slam singles title.
While on the courtside, weeping in her chair, Sofia Kenin admitted that her Roland Garros title hopes were washed away by the Polish teenager’s fearless exploits as well as a leg injury.
“I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best,” she said. “I’ve got to get some rest and hopefully my leg will get better.”
The American fourth seed, looking to add the French Open to her triumph in Australia earlier this year, went down 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s final.
After dropping the first set, the 21-year-old slipped 2-1 behind in the second and required her left thigh to be taped after which she failed to win another game.
Kenin had to spend three and a half hours more than Swiatek on her way to Saturday’s final as four of her six matches had gone to three sets.
While Swiatek had not dropped a set in the entire tournament.
“I’ve had the problem for a few of my matches. I’ve had to tape. I saw the physio and everything, so I was doing everything I can,” explained the American.
“Today after the first set I just felt it was so tight, I couldn’t move. That’s why I had to call the trainer. It just got worse.”
Swiatek, at 54, is the lowest-ranked woman to capture the Roland Garros title in the modern era and the ninth first-time major champion in the past 14 Grand Slams.
Despite her disappointment, Kenin lauded her opponent.
“I feel like she served really well. She dictated really well with her forehand,” she said.
“She played some great tennis. She’s got the really good spinny forehand up the line. Really good backhand down the line.”
As Swiatek collected the trophy from France’s 2000 champion Mary Pierce, Kenin admitted it was hard to look on.
“She was giving an interview, and I was just sitting on the bench and crying. Obviously, I had a lot of emotions. I tried my best to not cry in the speech and everything. At the end I cried.”