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Iga Swiatek: “I’m using No 1 to put more pressure on my opponents”

The Pole says hitting the top of the rankings is having a positive impact on her game

Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2022 Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2022 © Roland-Garros

For some players, being world No 1 is a burden, an unnecessary accompaniment they can do without.

For others, it’s an inspiration, a confirmation of their form, a sign to their rivals that they are the one to beat, top of the pile, king of the hill.

For Iga Swiatek, becoming No 1 seems to have been the making of her. The Pole has now won 30 straight matches, a run that spans the time she usurped the now-retired Ash Barty at the top into the post-Barty era.

Still just 20 – she turns 21 on May 31 – Swiatek is wearing the mantle as if she was born to be No 1. What’s more, she’s embracing it.

“Just winning all these matches gave me a lot of confidence but I also knew that it could really press me down if I like don’t adjust to it well,” Swiatek told reporters on Thursday.

“I feel like I’m using my new position to put more pressure on my opponents. Yeah, I’m pretty happy that I could convert it to a way that is really helpful. Yeah, I feel like my confidence is better.”

Last year’s hard work coming good now

Two years on from her stunning march to the French Open title, Swiatek is waltzing through the draw at Roland-Garros, dropping just four games in two matches on her way to the third round, the American, Alison Riske, her latest victim in a 6-0, 6-2 drubbing. She’ll play Danka Kovinic of Montenegro next.

Swiatek said her current run of 30 straight wins, which includes five titles on the WTA Tour, is in part down to the hard work she did at the end of last year.

From a player who could be brilliant on her day to someone who’s producing stunning performances day by day, Swiatek has added power, precision and brutality to her game this year.

“I think basically I changed some things, like I started being more aggressive and trying to be more proactive on court,” she said. “That’s something that my coach really helped me to do.

“But also, I think all the work we have been doing, even last season, it finally clicked somehow. You know, last season it was a year for me where I really gained so much experience. This year I feel like I’m using it the right way. I have this experience already, and I can just move forward.

“So I think it’s, you know, the physical work I have been doing but also with my psychologist, I think it’s the work of the whole team as well. I’m pretty glad that it clicks right now.”

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