Iga Swiatek displayed some sublime tennis at the 2022 Miami Open finals as she defeated four time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka in straight sets to complete her Sunshine Double. The celebrations had just started for the Pole as it got doubled with the WTA handing her the World No. 1 rank with Ashleigh Barty retiring from the sport.
Swiatek, 20 has been sensational this year starting from the semifinals at the Australian Open followed by the win in Doha and then the icing on the cake with the Sunshine Double.
The former Roland Garros winner will be eager to perform well on clay as she gears up for the big clay season leading to the French Open. However, on the eve of the declaration, the 20-year-old penned a heartfelt message on social media for her family, friends and supporters.
“It’s official today and I want to give myself, my family, my team and partners a moment to celebrate it and be happy about it,” Swiatek began. “I usually don’t focus on numbers, on rankings but this moment is huge to me as I have become the first Polish, female or male tennis player to reach the top spot in singles.”
She highlighted how she would like to see more interest in tennis in Poland, especially after her rise to the top. In the men’s category compatriot, Hubert Hurkacz has also shown tremendous promise in both singles and doubles. Therefore this can be a milestone in Poland’s tennis history as they look to inspire more young kids to pick up the racket at an early age.
“I hope maybe one day there will be more of us in Poland playing tennis at the highest possible level. I am extremely grateful that my work could be an inspiration for some people. And last but not the least, I love the game and appreciate every moment of it these days.”
Iga Swiatek feels she would have been World No.1 even without Ash Barty’s retirement
Iga Swiatek was running for the top rank when Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement. Iga Swiatek along with Maria Sakkari were in contention for the top spot. But things turned to the Pole’s favour when Swiatek defeated her at the Indian Wells and then with Barty retiring things changed drastically. Swiatek then went on to complete the Sunshine Double as Sakkari lost out in the second round.
However, the youngster did not feel that she deserve the ranking until she won the Miami Open. Swiatek has now swept all the WTA 1000 events this year and feels that she deserved this positive more than ever.
“It helped for sure. After Miami, I thought that maybe it would happen anyway if Ash wasn’t retiring. But at first, for sure the way it happened I wasn’t 100% satisfied because I knew Ash has the best tennis out there. When I was playing against her I felt like I had much more to improve. For me, she was the one to be World No.1 for these times. It gave me a lot of motivation to work on myself and I realized that maybe in a few years it would be possible for me.
“But the way it happened, it didn’t help me to believe that I deserve it. Also, I’m so young. I know that there are many players who have been on tour for more than 10 years and didn’t have a chance to be World No.1. I was in [the right place at the right time]. I’ve been No.2 for like 3 days when Ash posted that she’s going to retire. So I thought that it was a little bit of a coincidence, honestly. But after Miami, I thought I’m playing really good, so why not?” said Iga Swiatek earlier.