WTA Rome – Iga Swiatek: “Having a rival as strong as Aryna is motivating”

Iga Swiatek is no longer alone in the world. At this same stage of the season last year, the Pole was at 23 consecutive victories, reinforcing day after day, week after week her status as the new world number 1 and patroness of the WTA circuit. A fantastic series that she was going to push up to 37 by successively winning Rome and Roland-Garros. Water has flowed under the bridge since then, and if she remains impressive on clay with a title in Stuttgart and a final in Madrid, Queen Iga has found a runner-up of choice in the person of Aryna Sabalenka.

Beaten in Germany, the Belarusian therefore took her revenge in Spain last week and confirmed that she had entered another dimension since her triumph at the Australian Open. Unless the catch-up work started long before for Sabalenka. It must be said that she had no choice, given the pace imposed by Swiatek. Far from being disgusted, she did everything to hook up the cars to the Polish locomotive. Her failed entry into the running in Rome, due to extreme fatigue as she tweeted, should not overshadow this new balance of power that is developing between the two.

WTA Madrid

The boss is Sabalenka!

05/06/2023 At 7:11 PM

Arnaud Di Pasquale: “I find it hard to imagine anyone other than Swiatek at Roland-Garros”

With Ash Barty, I felt the same as Aryna about me

Last season I lost so many matches to her (four in a row before stopping the series in the semi-finals of the Masters, editor’s note). She pushed me a lot to do betteradmitted Sabalenka in an interview with Alizé Lim for Eurosport before his inaugural defeat. I remember in training I was like, ‘If you want to beat Iga, you have to keep running, doing what you’re doing, pushing your limits.’ She really makes me better, there’s no doubt about it. And I’m super happy to face him regularly in the final. I hope it will continue until the end of the season or even longer. I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.”

In other words, Iga Swiatek has somehow represented a level for Sabalenka to reach. In this sense, the current world number 1 has almost been a godsend for the Belarusian who has stagnated in previous seasons. At a very high level, of course, but with a glass ceiling in the Grand Slam (the semi-finals) and at the mental level. Nothing is more effective than being inspired by someone better than yourself.

And Swiatek understands this better than anyone for having used a similar method herself with the one who preceded her on the throne. “Two years ago it really hit me when I played Ash Bartyshe explained to Eurosport. I felt the same as Aryna about me. In matches as in training, I imagined her slicing on the backhand and I tried to better pick her up and respond to her. Now it’s a bit like that. I am happy that we have good players on the circuit and that we can motivate each other.”

Di Pasquale: ‘Winning in Madrid doesn’t make Sabalenka the big favorite for Roland’

A choice rival: the best remedy for the wear and tear of power

Caught up or even overtaken in recent months by Sabalenka – she is 1900 points behind in the Race (ranking since January 1) – Swiatek intends to return the favor and use her dangerous runner-up to improve further. “Of course she also pushes me to be bettershe confirmed. Having someone as a rival who plays as well as Aryna is motivating. It allows me to stay focused, vigilant, on the lookout.”

Besides, there is perhaps no better remedy for the wear and tear of power. With a Sabalenka in such a state, Swiatek has no time to rest on his laurels. The Pole is no longer alone with herself, which has another advantage: the desire to win has taken over from the fear of losing that she deplored in Melbourne at the start of the year. Bowing to such an adversary is not dishonouring. And she finally draws only a furious desire: that of showing again that she remains the best player in the world.

WTA Madrid

Swiatek – Sabalenka: The rivalry also settles on land

05/05/2023 At 10:12 PM

WTA Stuttgart

Earth is Swiatek’s planet

04/23/2023 At 1:25 PM

2023-05-11 21:14:00
#WTA #Rome #Iga #Swiatek #rival #strong #Aryna #motivating

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