Swiatek trying not to let expectations weigh her down as she targets WTA Finals glory

The Pole is battling it out with Aryna Sabalenka to end the year ranked No 1

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Iga Swiatek continues to be refreshingly honest about her inner struggles, even as she focuses on ending the year on a high by trying to win the WTA Finals.

The Pole is also in the hunt, still, to finish the year ranked No 1. Trailing current No 1 Aryna Sabalenka by 630 points, her fate is not entirely in her own hands but there is still a chance, especially if she wins the title for the first time.

Discussing her year with reporters on Saturday in Cancun, where this year’s Finals will be played, Swiatek admitted that external factors had weighed heavily on her at times in 2023.

“Sometimes I felt like it’s just kind of ridiculous because people got used to me winning,” she said. “It’s not like it’s going to happen all the time. So I think this season was kind of more normal, I would say, like most of the seasons we play, for even the top players.

“I think the main thing that I want to avoid is forgetting that this was also a good season and I still won some great tournaments. I won a Grand Slam.

“For sure the expectations from the outside, it was the thing that really sometimes stopped me this season. I’m going to work on not letting it stop me this time.”

“Not the favourite”

Swiatek said there is no clear favourite for the title in Cancun and certainly on paper, anyone can win it. Furthermore, a quick look at recent winners – Caroline Garcia, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina are three of the past four winners – shows history backs her up.

“Honestly, so many things can happen this week,” she said. “Overall in any tennis tournament, I stop thinking that way. I think any one of us can win this tournament.

“I mean, Cara Garcia last year, I don’t know if she was (ranked) fourth. She wasn’t in the top three I think, and she still won. Same with Muguruza in Guadalajara. History shows that it’s not about who’s the favourite.”

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