World No 1 Iga Swiatek says she wasn't really surprised by rivals openly declaring her "the target" earlier this year. In 2022, Swiatek put up one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory. Going into the 2023 season, several top players very openly said they were coming for Swiatek. "No, it didn't, because I know that I won many matches against these players in the past.
I understand their feelings. But, yeah, it doesn't really matter for me. I want to win anyway, no matter what they say, so yeah," Swiatek said.
Swiatek on being the defending US Open champion
Earlier this year, Swiatek successfully defended her French Open title.
Now, Swiatek is preparing to defend her US Open title. In her pre-tournament press conference in New York, Swiatek acknowledged defending a Grand Slam title is not easy but also added she has learned some lessons about how to do it. “Being the defending champion is not easy, so I’m kind of taking it easy, trying to do everything step by step.
On one hand you always want to kind of take experience from last year, find all these positive things that happened, take strength from that. On the other hand you have to remember that it’s totally different story. A lot can happen during like these 12 months.
I try to, yeah, take everything step by step, not really go forward with my thoughts, think that I need to do something more because last year I won," Swiatek said. In the US Open first round, Swiatek will start against Rebecca Peterson.
When Swiatek and Peterson meet, it will be the third time that they go head-to-head against each other. Their first two meetings were won by Swiatek and the Pole is again the favorite to end on the winning side. It remains to be seen if Swiatek can defend her US Open title this year.