Last year's Qatar Open was a wonderful campaign for Swiatek as she thrashed everybody en route to the trophy. This year might be a bit different because very few people, including the Pole herself, expect her to do the same.
We've seen her downplay expectations plenty of times before, but it's more to do with the parity of women's tennis right now. There are genuinely a few players who are likely to win the trophy, and it's pretty hard to pick one of them who stands out.
For Swiatek, the focus is simply to try her best. She's not even thinking about defending anything because, as she said in the pre-event press conference, there is no point in doing that.
"No, honestly I learned from last year that there is no point on focusing on defending anything, so it's a totally different chapter and totally different story."
"So I'm going to take it step by step and not really think about what happened last year or two years ago, because, you know, we are all at different points in our lives."
Swiatek might be right because every event is different. It's been a year since anybody played in Doha, and a lot of things changed since then. Some players improved, some didn't, but everybody is trying their best.
That's the goal for Swiatek, too. She wants to take it step by step, and hopefully, it translates to a great event, as it's the first WTA 1000 tournament of the year.
"Our tennis is also different, so, you know, I will take it step by step. I'm not really thinking about that. Obviously it would be nice if I could play well here, but I already learned that you can't expect a lot in tennis because it's going to surprise you. So really I'm trying to take everything step by step."
According to the draw, Swiatek starts against Sorana Cirstea which is a pretty tough matchup.