The challenge between the two current best players in the world, Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, is also expected at the Australian Open 2024. But there are many rivals who will try to undermine the top two seeds on the Melbourne hard courts. Iga Swiatek will certainly not have an easy time defending the lead in the WTA rankings in the two weeks that will characterize the first Grand Slam of the season.
The Pole was rather unlucky in the draw and, after her first round with Sofia Kenin, she will find the 2022 semi-finalist Danielle Collins or Angelique Kerber. On the path of the Warsaw native there are many other pitfalls such as Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko, Victoria Azarenka and Marketa Vondrousova.
Swiatek is one of the most anticipated tennis players at the next Australian Open, which will take place from 14 to 28 January. The WTA No.1 has already started on the right foot in Australia, dragging its Poland to the final of the United Cup.
Only Germany's Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber prevented them from winning their first trophy. In Melbourne Iga, who has never gone beyond the semi-final, but will try to lift her fifth Slam title.
Her path will immediately start uphill, as I wrote at the beginning of the article, by Sofia Kenin, winner of the 2020 edition. Presented at a press conference on the eve of the tournament, Iga confessed to having made some changes to her game, to try to win one of the two Majors that she still lacks.
"I could literally just focus on training and resting. I remember last year being quite hectic because I had a lot of things to do outside the circuit. I realized that sometimes this didn't allow me to concentrate 100% because I had played so many games that I was like, 'Okay, I've already gone six weeks without playing, so I can relax.' It wasn't a perfect approach. This year I did it differently, I put in a lot of effort. I didn't feel tired or overwhelmed by these things off the field. I was able to concentrate, every day was really quality. So I feel like it was a little better than 2023,” she explained.
Going into detail about, Swiatek explained that she changed one shot in particular of her game. "It's not a big change, because here I'm just changing my swing. All I needed was a couple of weeks to work hard and not let myself go back to the old swing. I think anyone who analyzed my serve could see that the swing wasn't smooth enough at times. Sometimes, when I got more tense, the service got a little worse. Hopefully we can avoid that with my new service," said Iga.
The young Polish star then summarized all her good intentions for 2024: "The only thing that's different is the Olympics, where I'd like to get a good result. But I don't see the point in looking at what will happen in July, because before then there are many important tournaments. I'm taking things slowly and not expecting too much from what lies ahead. I remember last year analyzing what I could do for the whole year and getting tired just thinking about it. Now I'm just thinking about the end of the Australian Open and then I'll think about my next goals," she told.
Iga Swiatek will be at the Paris Olympics
The Pole has announced in recent weeks that she has already circled a very important event in 2024 in red on her personal schedule. It is obviously the Paris Olympics, which the 22-year-old can't wait to play in the jersey of her country.
"I only played once. The pressure was enormous. You could see when I lost to Paula I cried, it was a big disappointment. I'm sure this time it will be a little different. I'll know the place and I'll be on my favorite surface (the red earth - ed.). This also brings greater expectations from the outside. I think I will have to do the same work as in the other tournaments. I think I can do well and that I will have the opportunity to win," said the Pole, welcoming with great enthusiasm the news that the Roland Garros Stadium will host the Olympic Games.
Swiatek has already won three Slam titles in France (precisely in 2020, 2022 and 2023) and it is natural that she is considered among the great protagonists. The Pole was also asked which player could be the one to show off the most next season.
"It is extremely difficult to predict. It is impossible to say who. In recent years there has always been an athlete who suddenly made the leap in quality and won a Slam or entered the top 5 . I think about Sabalenka, Rybakina and me, we are more consistent than the others. I hope we continue like this in the next few seasons, but I have no idea who will stand out. Ons is a very consistent player even when she is not injured,” she revealed.