Home Tennis

“It would happen anyway if Ash wasn’t retiring” Iga Swiatek gets her hand on the WTA No. 1 trophy, speaks on her plans of dominance on Clay

Being officially crowned the World No. 1 on the WTA Tour, Iga Swiatek looks back at her past few weeks where she swept a hattrick of WTA-1000 titles.

Iga Swiatek

It’s official. Iga Swiatek is the new World No. 1 on the WTA Tour. The 20-year old was finally presented the WTA’s trophy to commemorate the Pole’s ascension to the top of the rankings after she was confirmed to be the top-ranked player a week ago after the second round matches of the 2022 Miami Open were played out.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Iga and Maria Sakkari were in running for the top position after the duo played the final of the 2022 Indian Wells Open and broke into the Top-3. With Ash Barty‘s sudden retirement and the top spot left empty, it was between the two depending on how they would play in Miami. With Maria out in the second round, Iga was confirmed to become the World No. 1 and she did it with style by claiming the title as well, making it a hattrick of WTA-1000 titles.

“I think the thing that made the whole difference was my attitude and my different mentality. Right now, I feel like I can play more fearless tennis and use all the stuff that I’ve been working on in practice and convert it into my match game. That’s the most important thing because we have to perform the best in tennis. At the end, when I was stepping out on the court I was pretty confident that I can dominate. But actually, I think that this year I’m not adjusting that much to what my opponent is playing.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“It’s really helpful because it helps me stay focused on myself, on my skills, on my powerful shots, and I can actually use what I was working on. Last season I felt I was maybe overanalyzing a little bit how my opponents were playing and that leads to more confusion. So I think not adjusting is working better. I don’t know why,” said Iga in her interview with WTA Insider after her coronation.

Iga Swiatek speaks of dethroning Ash Barty

Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek

Barty’s retirement was a massive shocker and Iga had her doubts about whether she was worthy of being the World No. 1 as she was rising to the position because Barty had said goodbye to the game. Iga however is now more assured and feels worthy after having swept in all three WTA-1000 tournaments of the season so far.

“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.

Iga Swiatek talks about returning to her favourite surface

Iga Swiatek with the 2021 Italian Open trophy

Iga’s shot to fame was the 2020 French Open when she won the Slam aged 18-years old becoming one of the youngest to do so. The Pole won the 2021 Italian Open title last year defeating former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova dropping a double-bagel in the finals and winning it in less than 50 minutes. As the Tour moves to Clay, Iga also spoke about her excitement.

“It is really exciting because I always felt like even when I’m going to have the same results on clay it’s always more comfortable for me to play on clay. I’m just more comfortable there. Actually, I feel like I can hit even more variety than on hard courts. Basically, I don’t care what my results are going to be. I know there’s going to be a lot of pressure and I can’t promise that I’m going to handle it well because I’ve never been in a situation like that before. So I’m going to do my best to do that well. 

“For now, I’m just going to take as much energy as possible from the fact that I just want to play on clay and it’s just fun. But we still have Billie Jean King Cup on hard court in Poland. So I haven’t thought about clay yet,” concluded Iga who is now one of the favourites to claim the 2022 French Open title which would be her 2nd major.

Also Read: “I am not afraid to say that I want to win a Grand Slam” Carlos Alcaraz locks his next target after clinching the Miami Masters

Sarthak Shitole is a tennis writer at FirstSportz. Despite being a lifelong Roger Federer fan, he has admiration for other tennis stars as well.