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“I felt like I took a step back” – disappointed Swiatek says she wanted it too much in Australia

There’s a fine line between wanting to win and wanting to win too much. After her loss to Elena Rybakina on Day 7, Iga Swiatek is contemplating the difference.

Iga Swiatek, Australian Open 2023 Iga Swiatek, Australian Open 2023 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

After falling to Elena Rybakina in fourth-round action on Sunday in Melbourne, three-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek says she felt she wanted the title a little too badly this time around.

“I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard,” she told reporters. “So I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more. That’s all.”

Swiatek, who struggled with her first-serve as she lost for just the third time in her last 27 Grand Slam matches, said that the stress of the last two weeks have been difficult on her.

“For sure past two weeks have been pretty hard for me,” the 21-year-old said. “So I felt today that I don’t have that much to take from myself to fight even more.”

Iga Swiatek
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 16, 2023 Poland’s Iga Swiatek reacts during her first round match against Germany’s Jule Niemeier (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Not wanting to lose or wanting to win? Swiatek’s answer

Instead of wanting to win, the Polish juggernaut said she fell into the rut of not wanting to lose. It’s never a good way to go about the business of winning a major, and it’s a lesson that many players have to learn over and over during the course of their careers.

Swiatek is taking the message to heart already.

“I felt the pressure, and I felt that I don’t want to lose instead of I want to win,” she said. “So that’s a base of what I should focus on in the next couple of weeks.”

“Rybakina’s ranking should be better, but we all know what happened at Wimbledon”

Swiatek was quick to credit her opponent for her magnicifent play, however.

“She was just better today, honestly, and she played in a really solid way,” she said of the 2022 Wimbledon champion, who is seeded 22nd and ranked 25th at the moment. Of course, Rybakina’s ranking would be much higher if players were allowed to keep their ranking points from Wimbledon in 2022 (they were not due to the club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players), and that’s something that Swiatek alluded to as well on Sunday.

“Her ranking should be better, but we all know what happened in Wimbledon,” she said, adding: “I think tactically she was kind of composed and just able to stay focused. She was a better player today. I don’t know what to tell you in terms of analyzing the match.

“On the other hand, if you want to win a tournament, you have to kind of be better than everybody.”

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