Jessica Pegula says Iga Swiatek's 2022 dominance pushed the rest of the competition to up their game. Last year, Swiatek finished the year with a 67-9 record and the Pole also set a new record for the most consecutive wins (37) on the WTA Tour in the 21st century.
Also, Swiatek won a total of eight titles last year, including two Grand Slam titles. After suffering four straight-set defeats to Swiatek in 2022, Pegula destroyed the Pole 6-2 6-2 at the start of the 2023 season at the United Cup.
"I think in a way, whoever's winning or losing, we all push each other. When you see someone come up and kind of set the bar higher like Iga did, it forces girls like myself, Rybakina, Sabalenka, to also have to raise their game because there's no choice.
I think when you see that happening, that's how people get better. Kind of like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, they all say if it wasn't for one of the others, they probably wouldn't have been as good. Even though we're all competing against each other, I think there's a lot of mutual respect where we're all pushing each other to be better, raise our level, raise our game," Pegula said, per the WTA website.
Pegula: Other girls are dissecting more how to beat Swiatek
Five months into the 2023 season, Swiatek is 25-5 and she has won two titles. So far in 2023, Swiatek hasn't been as dominant as she was around this time a year ago.
"I definitely think other girls are dissecting more how to beat her, playing better. You can't really expect her to play lights out forever, nobody can do that, not even the best players in the world. I think we've all just pushed each other.
That's kind of why you see -- I mean, me a little bit -- but more specifically Sabalenka and Iga meeting in the finals a lot this year, Rybakina-Sabalenka matchups, because I think they're all pushing each other, showing that they want to compete and win these tournaments. They're improving," Pegula said.
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