Tennis-Swiatek puts focus on improvement and not reclaiming top rank

  • Tennis
  • Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

Sep 3, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; Iga Swiatek of Poland serves against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) on day seven of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - Iga Swiatek said losing the world number one ranking felt like a weight was lifted off her shoulders and the 22-year-old plans to focus on improving her game and not merely chasing points during the home stretch of the season.

Swiatek inherited top spot following Ash Barty's retirement in April 2022 and embarked on a superb run of form in the months that followed to claim three more Grand Slam titles after her breakthrough French Open success in 2020.

The Polish player's consistency meant she spent 75 weeks at the peak, but a fourth round defeat at the U.S. Open last month meant Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka finally leapfrogged her.

"I think it's a bit easier to come back to the mindset of chasing somebody because that's what we've been doing our whole lives," world number two Swiatek told reporters in Beijing, where she plays Sara Sorribes Tormo on Monday.

"There's only one person who's at number one. I think this was harder to get used to last season. But honestly, it doesn't really matter for me because after the U.S. Open, I knew I was going to drop to second position.

"I stopped thinking about rankings because I felt like there's some baggage off my shoulders. I could focus more on just working and getting back to the more peaceful and normal rhythm of practising."

Swiatek is in no rush to reclaim the top ranking and said she wanted to develop as a player in the coming months.

"It's different because you're just focusing on the future, not on defending something," Swiatek said. "I'm using that. But overall I'm also worried that it's the last tournaments of the season, so I'm not going to be 100% fresh.

"My main goal is to do some stuff differently on court in terms of the technique and tactics, to develop as a player, not really chase points or rankings."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)

Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Tennis

Tennis-Injured Kyrgios absent from Australian Open draw
Tennis-Raducanu to play Auckland after Australian Open wildcard snub
Tennis-Djokovic still the man but youngsters knocking on the door
Tennis-Nadal to make tour return at Brisbane International
Tennis-Kyrgios thanks 'big supporter' Murray for noticing signs of self-harm
Tennis-Alcaraz shines in Mexico City as fans get a glimpse of world class tennis
2023 sporting moments in pictures
Tennis-No penalties for players taking part in Russian exhibition event: WTA
Tennis-Sabalenka, Rybakina to open new season in Brisbane
Tennis-'We'll be back', say Australia's Davis Cup nearly-men

Others Also Read