Iga Swiatek has no Aryna Sabalenka or Emma Raducanu concerns ahead of Olympics

Swiatek addresses the changing surfaces concerns after Sabalenka, Raducanu and Ons Jabeur withdrew from the Paris Olympics.

by Dzevad Mesic
Iga Swiatek has no Aryna Sabalenka or Emma Raducanu concerns ahead of Olympics
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Iga Swiatek definitely won't be joining a growing list of star players withdrawing from the Paris Olympics due to changing surfaces concerns as the world No. 1 says going from clay to grass and then back to clay won't be an issue for her. 

In the last few days, a couple of big names decided to pull out from the Paris Olympics - Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu - and all three cited the same reason and that's changing surfaces in a very short time. 

Swiatek, who was scheduled to start her grass season at this week's WTA 500 tournament in Berlin but decided to pull out because she needed rest, says she is currently focused on preparing well for Wimbledon and being a contender there since it's the only Grand Slam where she hasn't made a semifinal yet. When making that clear, Swiatek also underlined that the upcoming Paris Olympics won't have any impact on how she practices on grass. 

“I want to be successful wherever I play, you know? We do not underestimate any tournament, especially a Grand Slam. But I realise that I haven't fully discovered my potential on grass yet. So I'll concentrate on work. Generally, the preparations will not be any different due to the Olympics," Swiatek told Przeglad Sportowy.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Swiatek dismisses any concerns regarding going from grass back to clay 

During the clay swing, Swiatek played a lot of tennis and she concluded her clay season by winning three consecutive titles at the Madrid Open, Rome Open and the French Open. Now, Swiatek is set to play on the grass and then return to clay for the Paris Olympics - Wimbledon ends on July 14th while the Olympics start on July 26th.

Changing surfaces in a quick time might be an issue for some star players but not for the 23-year-old Pole, who says going back to clay "will not be a problem" for her. 

“We will start thinking about [the Olympics] only after Wimbledon, because in tennis it's not like you have to be in shape for literally two weeks,” Swiatek said.

“We rather have to be in top form four or five times a year. Physically it is not always possible, but we will prepare as best we can and we will see. I think it would be a bigger challenge if there was grass first, clay in the middle, and grass again. Going back to the clay won't be a problem for me.

“When I come back to it after a whole year, two days are enough and I feel great on clay. This year I already played the Billie Jean King Cup on hard, I went straight to clay in Stuttgart and I was able to play a very good tournament, so going to clay a second time will not be a problem," Swiatek noted.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Tim Goode

What Raducanu, Sabalenka and Jabeur said when citing the reason for their Olympics withdrawal?

Raducanu, 21, was struggling with several injuries for quite some time before surgically repairing both wrists and her left ankle last May. Since returning to tennis at the start of this year, the 2021 US Open champion has managed to stay healthy and avoid any serious physical issues. 

And when Raducanu's Paris Olympics decision was announced over the weekend, it didn't sit well with the majority of the British public. The 21-year-old then defended herself by explaining that going from grass to clay would be too risky for her considering her injury history. 

“I just don’t think there’s any need to put additional stress on my body or any risk, especially with my history. It [clay] is more demanding on the body, for sure. It’s more physical, longer points, but I think it’s more just the change, the contrast between clay and grass and then on to the hard… For me, it is not necessary at this point to put my body through that," Raducanu said.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

Meanwhile, two-time Grand Slam champion Sabalenka simply admitted that also playing in Paris would too much for her and that the Olympics being staged on clay wasn't helping either. 

"It's too much for the scheduling. I made the decision to take care of my health. It's too much of changing the surface," Sabalenka said on Monday.

Later on Monday, three-time Grand Slam finalist Jabeur also withdrew from the Olympics, saying: "Dear All, after consulting with my medical team regarding attending the Olympics in Paris, we have decided that the quick change of surface and the body's adaptation required would put my knee at risk and jeopardize the rest of my season. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics."

After Raducanu, Sabalenka and Jabeur, it wouldn't be surprising if more players decided to skip the Paris Olympics in the upcoming period. 

But one thing is for sure - the Paris Olympics will feature world No. 1 Swiatek unless something drastic happens. 

Iga Swiatek Aryna Sabalenka Ons Jabeur