Swiatek & Sabalenka To Be Tested At 'Unpredictable' US Open Says McEnroe

Swiatek & Sabalenka To Be Tested At 'Unpredictable' US Open Says McEnroe

by Nurein Ahmed

Former ATP World No. 1 John McEnroe believes Iga Swiatek faces a tough task to defend her crown and believes this year's US Open is unpredictable with no clear-cut favorite.

The ESPN commentator was speaking to the media where he gave his thoughts on the current dominance that Swiatek has hoarded over the field for over a year. No player has been able to unseat Swiatek from the World No. 1 ranking since she got there following Ashleigh Barty's retirement.

Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka came mighty close on multiple occasions but stumbled towards the finish line. McEnroe is excited at the storylines that could unfold in the women's field in the next fortnight, starting with the world's top two playing for the title and the No. 1 ranking.

Sabalenka broke her duck at this year's Australian Open where she won her first Grand Slam singles title. McEnroe is aware the Belarusian's confidence has gone up a notch since as highlighted by her recent results at Grand Slam level. But given what is at stake, McEnroe is adamant both players will feel the pressure.

"Sabalenka came through and won her first major (2023 Australian Open) so she's more confident than ever. But it's still pretty unpredictable what is going to happen."

"Some of it is going to depend on the draw and see what plays out. Both players will feel that pressure to finish that tournament and year as No. 1 so this tournament could determine the No.1 ranking which is exciting for the sport."

McEnroe then talked in detail about Swiatek's dominance and her chances at the US Open. The American great regards Swiatek as one of the most dominant players of her generation and expressed her admiration at how she was able to transition that winning habit outside clay courts.

"She did an incredible job for a while and then she proved she could win on hard court surfaces. Now obviously there is a lot more expected and more pressure. For the most part, she's done a great job. The fact that she is No. 1 obviously with other players it would be a huge win to beat her."

Swiatek lost twice during the tuneup tournaments before the US Open, to Jessica Pegula in Montreal and Coco Gauff in Cincinnati. The 64-year-old singled out the top two Americans and stated that they'll have the full backing of the New York crowd. He still expects Swiatek to do well, but court speed could play a factor, according to McEnroe.

"People in America are hoping that players like Pegula, very consistent, and Gauff, she's got incredible upside, that was the first time that she had even won a set off her in eight or nine times."

"I think the court from what I heard was playing pretty quick (in Cincinnati). I'm not exactly sure what it's going to be at the US Open. If it's slower the court would help her a little bit. If it's faster it would probably help some of the other players a little more. That remains to be seen but I think overall she's doing a great job."


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