Patrick Mouratoglou thinks Aryna Sabalenka "really hurt" Iga Swiatek this year but applauded the Pole for bouncing back and finishing the year strong. Last year, Swiatek enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory as she won two Grand Slams - finished as the Year-End No 1 by a huge margin - and had 37 consecutive wins at one point.
But at the start of the 2023 season, Sabalenka became a Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open and returned to No 2. Sabalenka quickly started melting Swiatek's lead and it didn't take far until the Belarusian started threatening the Pole to replace her at the spot. “She [Iga] lost to Coco before the US Open.
Of course it played a role, because it hurt her confidence. I feel that Iga is someone who has a lot of doubts. But she takes doubts away with work, and work brings victories. But when she starts to be threatened, when she starts to be beaten a few times, it affects her confidence a lot.
That’s why this year was more difficult, because Sabalenka really hurt her this year. It hurt her confidence a little bit, compared to last year when she was so dominant," Mouratoglou said in a video uploaded on his Instagram.
Mouratoglou acknowledges Swiatek is still the dominant one
After suffering a shock US Open round-of-16 exit and losing the world No 1 ranking to Sabalenka, Swiatek wasn't in a really great spot. But when Swiatek returned to action, she was able to win a WTA 1000 tournament in Beijing.
Afterward, Swiatek became emotional and admitted the title meant a lot to her. Then, Swiatek won her first WTA Finals title and also returned to No 1 in the world. “She [Swiatek] still ends the season with a Slam and the WTA Finals win, and being No 1 in the world, so I think we can still talk about dominance.
But it’s not as much as before. Now, the other players feel they can beat her. The year before, not so much," Mouratoglou added.