Martina Navratilova thinks Iga Swiatek will finish the 2023 season ranked at the world No 1 spot but the tennis legend also noted that this year's battle for the top spot is much closer than it was around this time 12 months ago.
On this week's updated WTA rankings list, Swiatek leads with 9,490 ranking points while Aryna Sabalenka follows with 8,746 points. This week, both Swiatek and Sabalenka are competing at a WTA 1000 event in Montreal. Both Swiatek and Sabalenka don't have many points to defend this week as they suffered round-of-16 losses at the National Bank Open last year.
Swiatek has already won one title on hard this summer as the Pole won Warsaw after Wimbledon.
Navratilova thinks Swiatek will finish the year as the world No 1
“Winning in Warsaw wasn’t as easy as it could have been.
It’s a lot of pressure for her to do well, but she came through. She won the [US] Open last year, so Iga must feel pretty good about herself on the hard courts. It looks like hard courts and clay are her best surfaces. She’s won on faster hard courts as well as the slower ones.
I think she likes a true bounce and she can still slide on the hard stuff. Other than Coco Gauff, I think she’s the best mover, efficient and quick. I think she’s still the favorite to finish the year No.1 but, it’s a lot closer than it was this time last year," Navratilova told the WTA website.
At Wimbledon, Swiatek was inches away from losing the world No 1 ranking to Sabalenka. After Swiatek suffered a Wimbledon quarterfinal loss, Sabalenka just needed to reach the final and she would have been the new world No 1.
But in the Wimbledon semifinal, Sabalenka blew a lead of a set and a break against Ons Jabeur and missed out on a chance to overtake Swiatek at the top spot.
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