Iga Swiatek has welcomed her rivalry with Aryna Sabalenka, with the world No.2’s form keeping her on her toes and motivating her to improve.
World No. 1 Swiatek and Sabalenka met twice last month and won their first match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, but the Belarusian got her revenge at the weekend when she won the Madrid Open final. Three sets.
The Pole currently leads the head-to-head record 5-3, but there is no doubt that Sabalenka has closed the gap and the pressure from Swiatek is helping her improve in her game.
It’s encouraging to see someone play as well as Arina. It keeps me constantly prepared and on my toes,” she said. Eurosport.
“I was surprised when I played with Ashley Barty two years ago, I had a very similar feeling playing her.
“So, I think about how you play the cut in practice and I try to pick it up and come back. It’s small, but I’m happy to have good players and we can inspire each other.
Swiatek is the reigning champion at this week’s Italian Open as well as the French Open, and despite Sabalenka and a few other players’ performances, she is undoubtedly the favorite for both titles.
However, the 21-year-old does not focus on any labels.
“I don’t think I’m worried about that. «I don’t want to think about how people are going to look at something like this,» she said.
It is very easy for me to cut off all social media or media and try to focus on my work playing tennis.
But it’s never easy and sometimes there are ups and downs. Last year I was able to cut and play my game. I love playing on clay so hopefully I can focus on that.
Read more: ‘WTA has big three’ – women’s tennis as Iga Sviatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina dazzle
After a shock fourth-round exit at the Australian Open, Swiatek quickly bounced back with a 20-3 season debut with titles in Indian Wells and Stuttgart.
«The season is long, so I don’t expect to always be on track with that,» she added. I know we live a stressful life and there will be struggles.
But it was a little tougher than usual at the beginning of the year and I was able to work on that and get through it.
“When I came to Dubai in the Middle East, I found my rhythm a little bit and was able to maintain that. Hopefully it will last long enough; I will keep it very simple and take it step by step.