Aryna Sabalenka admits: "I can't obsess over beating Iga Swiatek"

The Belarusian player explains how WTA No.1 is extraordinary, but also how she should rather focus on herself

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Aryna Sabalenka admits: "I can't obsess over beating Iga Swiatek"
© Dan Istitene / Staff Getty Images Sport

"The rivalry that Iga Swiatek and I are creating is fantastic, but we are not alone because Cori Gauff and Elena Rybakina also fight for the maximum goals. Rivalries like these help me improve every day and give me extra motivation. I hope we will continue to find ourselves in the last rounds of the big tournaments."

At the press conference scheduled during the Media Day on the eve of the Roland Garros - 2nd Majord of the tennis season, Aryna Sabalenka talked about her rivalry with WTA No.1 Iga Swiatek. The Belarusian will arrive at the Parisian Slam after playing a good season on clay, which however culminated with two tough defeats in the final against the Pole, in the WTA 1000 in Madrid and Rome.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka© Dan Istitene / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Sabalenka - who will play against Erika Andreeva in the first round of the Roland Garros - has shown that she can also be very competitive on clay courts and spoke about the keys through which she can beat her Polish rival. 

"If I have one thing very clear, it is that I cannot obsess over beating Swiatek, but rather I have to focus on myself and everything I have to do to be a better tennis player. If I succeed, I know I will have opportunities to prove myself against her. She has achieved impressive results in this tournament, but I love difficult challenges. She motivates me most of all and gives me great energy to fight for complicated goals like beating Iga in this event,” she explained.

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Also during the media day, Iga Swiatek stated how she and Sabalenka need each other to improve.

"Aryna and I push each other to improve and every time we face each other great battles arise. She is a great opponent, we need each other to improve. We hope to be able to continue to face each other in big events because, if our rivalry is important, it will help women's tennis get more and more attention. I have the right mentality to face this tournament. What I did in Rome gave me enormous confidence because I felt more comfortable than ever serving. My coach made some masterful adjustments on that shot and I feel they are already paying off.

I hope to be able to maintain consistency in my serve because this helps me improve my whole game and face moments of great stress with confidence. The tournament is long and many things can happen. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous because I know the expectations on me are very high and that creates pressure. However, I think that stress helps me motivate myself and bring out the best version of myself. I see myself on the right path and feel like I can continue to improve," she explained.

Aryna Sabalenka Iga Swiatek
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