'There's Always Pressure When You're No. 1': How Swiatek Deals With Expectations

'There's Always Pressure When You're No. 1': How Swiatek Deals With Expectations

by Nurein Ahmed

Iga Swiatek recently reflected on the constant scrutiny that top athletes face and how she channels that spotlight into positive energy on the court.

Swiatek is currently the WTA's World No. 1 and broke the Top 10 all-time list for most weeks in that position. She passed Lindsay Davenport to take up the ninth spot with over 100 weeks.

The Pole has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the women's game, winning four Grand Slams and almost $30 million in career prize money. Swiatek was also named as the 2023 highest-paid women's athlete by Forbes.

All these accomplishments have been chalked off while Swiatek is only 22, a minuscule age for a tennis player. What's even more interesting is that we might not have seen the best of Swiatek yet.

Ahead of her Roland Garros title defense, Swiatek spoke to Teen Voge during the official launch of her newest kit with Swiss apparel company On. Swiatek, who is a self-proclaimed introvert, explained how she found a remedy for persistent criticism.

"I have my ways if I'm feeling too overwhelmed or if I see too many comments about myself. I just try to stay low, and off social media."

They always say being number one is the easiest part, but staying there is the most challenging task. Sustaining success every year is not for the fainthearted, given the relentless expectations from fans, media, and sponsors. Swiatek is aware of this responsibility but has learned to quell outside noise and focus on what she can control.

"There is always going to be pressure, especially when you're number one and so expectations are high, but I wouldn't say these expectations from the outside are the ones that are bothering me."

"Sometimes I'm on top of myself because I'm a perfectionist and I would say that the most work that I have to do is on myself rather than on the expectations from the outside. The season is long and there are some periods where you feel like you're underperforming and then the pressure can be really tough."

Swiatek opened her 2024 Roland Garros campaign with a comfortable straight-sets win against French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean. She will play former World No. 1 in a massive second-round match against Naomi Osaka.


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