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‘Downside is Swiatek will be the No.1 player in the world,’ Sam Smith shockingly claims that Iga Swiatek isn’t ready to fill Ash Barty’s shoes

Tennis commentator Sam Smith believes that Iga Swiatek isn't ready to become the next World No.1.

Ash Barty and Iga Swiatek

Australian World No.1 Ash Barty recently announced that she’ll be retiring from tennis. The news came as a shock to the tennis world as Barty was just 25 and was in her prime. She won her 3rd grand slam title at Melbourne just a couple of months ago and was definitely the best player amongst the current lot by a mile. She had won 2 of the last 3 majors and was just one US Open title away from completing the career slam.

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After her retirement, many tennis pundits have voiced their opinion on the subject. Speaking to Wide World of Sports, tennis commentator Sam Smith believes that Barty’s retirement is a huge loss to tennis.

“I think they’ll all be very disappointed, they’ll be happy for her, but I think they’ll have wanted to test themselves against the best,” she explained.

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Smith thinks that Iga Swiatek, Barty’s successor, isn’t ready to become World No.1 as she’s not as good as Barty. “For me, the downside is Swiatek will be the number one player in the world, and I think she’s fab, but she’s not as good as Ash, and I don’t know that she’s quite ready for it,” she said.

She drew parallels to the current scenario with that of Justine Henin’s retirement. She explained that after Henin’s sudden retirement in 2008, Ana Ivanovic became No.1 but she wasn’t ready for it

“The same thing happened when Justine Henin quit (in 2008), and Ana Ivanovic became the number one player, and she wasn’t ready for it. Swiatek will cope, but it’s putting someone at number one who’s not quite there. But that’s not Ash’s problem. One thing I’ve learned with Ash is she does not allow the success, the media, everything that goes on around her, to control her,” she said.

She went on to laud Barty for an amazing career and said that as a tennis lover, it’s disappointing to let her go. “She’d done a brilliant job of holding the reigns. She’s a very smart young woman. When they get this level of success and fame so quickly, you see athletes losing control so quickly. She has absolutely stayed true to what she feels is right. She doesn’t chase money or fame. She’s in charge. It’s very disappointing for everyone who loves tennis, but this is what she wants,” Smith added.

‘It’s a shame that Ash Barty doesn’t get to go back onto center court at Wimbledon: Sam Smith

Ashleigh Barty

Barty is the defending Wimbledon and Australian Open champion. Smith said that it’s a ‘shame’ that she won’t be able to open at center court this year and wouldn’t be able to go back on home soil as the defending champion.

“It’s a shame that she didn’t get to go back onto center court, she would have opened center court at Wimbledon this summer, we have that lovely tradition, and she would have gone back to Australia in January as the defending champion, that would have been really special,” Smith said.

“To go back to those two Grand Slams as defending champion would have been something, Wimbledon because of the history and the way the defending champion is treated, and Melbourne because it’s her home event,” she added.

Also read: ‘I never really imagined,’ Iga Swiatek scripts history by becoming Poland’s first-ever World No.1 in tennis

Lakshya Chopra is an aspiring sports writer and enthusiast who covers tennis for FirstSportz. He is currently pursuing his B.Tech (Computer) degree from VIIT, Pune. He is the most passionate guy in the room when it comes to Sports. He is hugely inspired by Rafael Nadal.