Iga Swiateklearning to manage expectations is stacked with the world’s number one, says he’s on track, not behind as he launches her title defense at the Indian Wells ATP and WTA Masters.
The 21-year-old from Warsaw won tennis by half in 2022, his victories at the beginning of the season include notable victories in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
He will finish the year with two Grand Slam titles at the French Open and the US Open, but said on Wednesday that he is trying to “not think about what happened last year and remember that’s a different story.”
Swiatek was scored by Elena Rybakina in the Australian Open round of 16, and after defending her Doha WTA title last month she was stunned in the Dubai final by Barbora Krejcikova.
“Sometimes it’s important to remember that you can lose,” Swiatek said. “There are other players who are playing good tennis. Last season spoiled me.”
He admitted that a flurry of easy-to-win matches – he has yet to play a three-set match this year – may have allowed for some complacency.
“I just have to remember that I’m going to play tight and fight for every ball,” he said.
As he and his coach analyze each loss and work to make adjustments, he said he tries to tune out outside criticism.
Swiatek himself enjoyed his performance in Doha and Dubai – saying that reaching both finals was, of course, a strong result even if he lost to Krejcikova, who was first and current French Open champion 30 in the world – was analyzed.
“Last year, before these big series, before winning all these tournaments, I will be very happy with the decision, but because of this information now I feel like ‘Oh, that’s not enough,’” he said.
“So I’m trying not to read too much into this and I don’t want it to affect me because I’m happy with the work I did and the way I played, Doha and Dubai.”
Swiatek’s number one ranking is safe through Indian Wells and Miami, but she will be up against an advantage in the California desert, where she is trying to become only the second woman to defend the title after after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91.
After the first round she will open against either Alison van Uytvanck or Claire Liu. She could face a tough third match against 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada.
Two other former champions are in the field, 2021 winner Paula Badosa of Spain and Belarusian veteran Victoria Azarenka, who won in 2012 and 2016.
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka is the second champion, hoping to improve on a 2022 performance that saw her in the second round.
Sabalenka will open against Evgenya Rodina, who beat French Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-5.
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