Aryna Sabalenka has told Iga Swiatek that she is "happy" she has a rival like her because the Pole pushes her to work harder and do better. After becoming a Grand Slam champion at the start of the 2023 season, 25-year-old Sabalenka is now also set to become the world No 1 player for the first time in her career.
On Monday, there will be a change at the world No 1 spot for the first time since 2022 April as Sabalenka is set to overtake Swiatek. “I’m really happy that we have Iga on tour, someone who motivates me, especially me, to keep pushing, keep trying, keep improving myself.
I think that’s the real sport, when you push yourself to the limits and you try to get better. I feel like it’s great that we’re playing great this year, we’re pushing each other. I really hope we’ll keep doing that and we’ll keep facing each other in the very last stages of the tournaments, we’ll battle against each other.
This is what sport is," Sabalenka said.
Sabalenka bounced back after a couple of defeats to Swiatek
Last year, Swiatek beat Sabalenka in their first four matches of the season and three of those four wins were pretty routine straight-set wins.
During that period, Swiatek was pretty dominant against Sabalenka and it was clear that the Belarusian needed to do something different and try to find an answer for the Pole. Then, Sabalenka managed to beat Swiatek in the semifinal of the WTA Finals.
This year, Sabalenka and Swiatek have played just twice. After suffering a straight-set defeat to Swiatek in the Stuttgart final, Sabalenka got her revenge by beating the Pole in the Madrid final. After four consecutive defeats to Swiatek, Sabalenka has won two of their last three meetings.
Undoubtedly, those four losses to Swiatek last year forced Sabalenka to get back to the drawing board and work hard on improving her game.