When Ashleigh Barty dominated at the start of the 2022 season by winning 11 consecutive matches, no one expected that someone would replace her as world no. 1.
However, the Australian retired and soon a new start appeared on the tennis sky. Iga Swiatek jumped to the no. 1 spot and it was her, who started dominating. The young Pole ended this season with more than 6000-point lead and won two Grand Slam. Now, many miss Barty on the WTA Tour even more as a beautiful rivalry could be born.
Between the two, there is nothing but respect as Swiatek confirmed it once again when she spoke about the Australian ahead of the season start.
“I’m super proud of myself. I feel like a huge satisfaction, because I have been working my whole life to get to this point," Swiatek said during press conference in Australia. "I didn’t really think it’s like possible for me."
"For sure when Ash retired, I felt like mixed emotions because I felt like she still has the best tennis out there, so yeah, actually, hopefully maybe this week we are going to be able to meet and I’m going to say it straight to her, but she really inspired me to work harder and her different, I don’t know, game style made me realise that there is always like room for improvement."
“At first I felt like I wasn’t sure if this is kind of my place to be. Ash, she seemed like a huge role model for everybody in terms of her behaviour on court but also off court. She really set the bar pretty high, so I need to show it to people but also show it to myself that I’m in the right place.”