Iga Swiatek recounts 'pretty crazy' but special moment from exactly two years ago

Around this time in 2022, Swiatek accomplished a major career goal and milestone.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Iga Swiatek recounts 'pretty crazy' but special moment from exactly two years ago
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Iga Swiatek says she still perfectly remembers becoming world No. 1 in "a pretty crazy" way as the Pole is proud of everything she has been able to do since becoming the top-ranked player in the game for the first time. 

On Sunday, Swiatek won her Indian Wells title No. 2 after destroying Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-0. Exactly two years ago, Swiatek's first Indian Wells title came and her final opponent back then was also Sakkari. 

Just a day after Swiatek's first Indian Wells win, Ashleigh Barty - who was the world No. 1 at the time - announced she was retiring from pro tennis at the age of 25. Entering 2022 Miami, Swiatek and Sakkari both had a chance to reach the world No. 1 spot and replace Barty. 

After Swiatek won the 2022 Miami title and Sakkari lost, the Pole officially became the world No. 1 for the first time in her career on April 2nd, 2022. Since then, the 22-year-old Pole has spent the majority of the time ranked there as this Monday she entered her 95th week at the top spot. 

"Oh, well, I remember everything, honestly. It was pretty crazy," Swiatek recalled when asked if she remembered how she exactly became the world No. 1 exactly two years ago.

"I'm pretty proud of the way I adapted to all these challenges that I had to face. First becoming World No. 1, then actually feeling comfortable with it and using it on court and being the target of many players that wanted to beat particularly me, you know, and then starting next season as World No. 1. So I'm really proud of how I handled everything.

"It's not like it just happens and then it's done. You have many things, you know, that you have to face during one season. So, yeah, I'm just pretty proud."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Swiatek on how she feels about her game while being the world No. 1

En route to winning this year's Indian Wells title, Swiatek also faced former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who retired due to an injury while down a set and a break to the Pole. Following her second Indian Wells title, a reporter told Swiatek that Wozniacki was someone who used to constantly be asked whether she "felt really No. 1."

When Wozniacki became the world No. 1 for the first time in 2010 October, she didn't have a Grand Slam win and that's why she was constantly receiving such questions. Later, Wozniacki managed to make her Grand Slam breakthrough and win her first and lone Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open. 

"I would say you just feel like your game is better than anyone out there. Obviously it's not for granted that you're going to win because of that, but you feel like you have skills and you have everything to be able to, you know, present your best game," Swiatek explained.

"I mean, because of that, I don't expect, like, it's going to happen all the time, but I just know that it's somewhere there and I need to make the best work to put it out there."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Swiatek on dealing with the pressure of being the world No. 1

In her first stint at the world No. 1 spot, Swiatek impressively put on a streak of 75 consecutive weeks. But after her 2023 US Open title defense ended in the round-of-16, the Pole's streak came to an end as Aryna Sabalenka replaced the 22-year-old at the top spot on September 11th. 

At the time, Swiatek's confidence was shaken and it looked like Sabalenka would finish the season as the top-ranked player in the world. But after finishing her season with back-to-back titles in Beijing and the WTA Finals, Swiatek returned to the world No. 1 spot and beat out Sabalenka for the Year-End No. 1 spot. Since then, there haven't been any changes at the world No. 1 position. 

After losing the top spot to Sabalenka, Swiatek used that experience to learn about the mistakes she made and learn how to deal better with managing the pressure and expectations of being the top-ranked player in the world. 

"I mean, there are going to be ups and downs still, so I don't expect I'm always going to feel comfortable with pressure. Sometimes it hits harder; sometimes it doesn't hit at all," Swiatek said.

"I wouldn't say that at some point I felt comfortable and that's it, now I'm going to be comfortable till the rest of my career."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Swiatek is now set to play in Miami, where she also won the title in 2022.

Iga Swiatek
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