Aryna Sabalenka reveals when she sensed it was time to attack Iga Swiatek at No. 1

This Monday, Sabalenka overtook Swiatek and became the world No.1 for the first time in her career.

by Dzevad Mesic
Aryna Sabalenka reveals when she sensed it was time to attack Iga Swiatek at No. 1
© Getty Images Sport - Mark Kolbe

Aryna Sabalenka revealed it was after the Australian Open when she felt it was the moment for her to show Iga Swiatek that maintaining her world No 1 ranking for the entire 2023 season wouldn't be an easy thing. Sabalenka, 25, became a Grand Slam champion at this year's Australian Open and rose to No 2 in the world following her victory at Melbourne Park.

After being ranked at No 2 for seven months, Sabalenka officially became the world No 1 for the first time in her career this Monday. "After winning the Australia Open, I was thinking probably I have a chance to put Iga under pressure, show her that it's not going to be easy for her to stay on top of the game.

I was just practicing a lot, kept working hard, kept improving myself, and I was hoping that one day I'd become World No 1," Sabalenka said on the WTA Insider podcast.

Sabalenka on if she ever got distracted by thinking about the No 1 spot

At the US Open, Sabalenka secured overtaking Swiatek and her chase for the world No 1 ranking officially ended.

But before Sabalenka overtook Swiatek, the Belarusian missed out on a few opportunities to replace the Pole at the top spot earlier this year. Now reflecting on her journey to overtaking Swiatek, Sabalenka admits thinking about the world No 1 ranking distracted her at the French Open, where she blew a lead against Karolina Muchova in the semifinal.

"I think at the French Open. It went into my head and I let this thing distract me. It was a little bit painful, to be honest. I was really pissed after the match because, for me, it was kind of like going back to the old habits and not focusing on myself.

I was focusing on the rest of the things, which are, honestly, not really important. So I had some chances there. I had some chances at Wimbledon. But Wimbledon, I didn't really think about that. I also went back to the old habits where where I'm getting upset after losing my serve.

I think that was the key and the answer to why I lost that match against Ons. Definitely, she played really unbelievable tennis, but to be honest, I kind of gave her this opportunity," Sabalenka said.

Aryna Sabalenka Iga Swiatek