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“I have many things to improve” – Swiatek envisages a future with “more options”
To the casual observer it may look like there isn’t much Iga Swiatek can improve in her game, but the Pole believes she is still a work in progress, destined to be even better in time.
She’s lost just seven games in her lost four matches, and at 21 years of age she sits all alone atop the WTA rankings, a whopping 4,800 points ahead of her closest rival.
It would be easy to think that there is nothing that Iga Swiatek can improve about her tennis, but the cerebral, ambitious Pole sees it differently.
“I feel I have many things to improve on court. Sometimes it’s not going to be visible by results or the way I play. I think I can have more options on court. These are my goals.”Iga Swiatek
Asked to elaborate her goals for the year during a press conference on Tuesday in Dubai (after trouncing Leylah Fernandez 6-1, 6-1), Swiatek refuses to be confined to the simple realm of results. Rather, the three-time Grand Slam champion expressed her desire to continue her development holistically, angling for mental and spiritual touchstones as well as forehands and backhands.
Swiatek – My goals aren’t really based on results
“They’re not really based on results,” was Swiatek’s response. “It’s more about how I want to approach the tournaments mentally, my attitude, and developing as a player because I feel I have many things to improve on court. Sometimes it’s not going to be visible by results or the way I play. I think I can have more options on court. These are my goals.”
Nadal – the model for success
In a sense, Swiatek is hoping to take a page from her idol’s playbook. Rafael Nadal, the 22-time major champion, has continued to work and improve his game into his mid-thirties, turning over every rock to remain a threat to win Grand Slam titles. Swiatek, an unabashed fan and sometimes practice partner of the King of Clay, has clearly been paying attention.
“I would say the most inspirational player for me on tour is Rafa Nadal because he’s never giving up, and he can win matches even though everybody is thinking like he’s going to lose it. He’s always developing. Even though he’s the greatest in the world, he’s always changing something and trying to improve,” she said.
“I don’t care, really” – Swiatek not worried about Sabalenka gunning for No 1
Swiatek’s plan for evolution occupies much of her available bandwidth. The same, however, can’t be said for the goals of her rivals on tour.
When told of Aryna Sabalenka’s statement that chasing down the No 1 ranking is her No 1 priority by a reporter, Swiatek simply said it doesn’t matter to her. She just wants to focus on herself and controlling the controllables.
“I’m not really looking for what other players are doing,” she said. “I know there’s also Ons, many players, that are kind of capable of winning tournaments, getting more and more points.
“For sure, Aryna is in a nice position after Australian Open. I’m really just focusing on myself. I don’t care really.”