World No 1 Iga Swiatek says she would welcome a great rivalry as she admits that Ashleigh Barty pushed her to elevate her game. In her first tournament of the 2022 season, Swiatek made the Adelaide International semifinal before Barty handed her a 6-4 6-2 loss.
In 2021, Barty defeated Swiatek also in straight sets in Madrid 7-5 6-4. Before announcing a shock retirement in March, Barty made it all the way at the Adelaide International and Australian Open. After Barty retired, Swiatek replaced her at the spot and has since established herself as the most dominant player in the women’s game.
Swiatek is by far the top-ranked player in the world as she has 11,085 ranking points, while second-ranked Ons Jabeur has 5,055.
Swiatek: A rivalry can help, my main goal was to learn to play Barty
“I think we all need somebody who is going to push ourselves to the limit.
It gave me a lot of motivation last season when I played against Ash (Barty) in Adelaide. For the next couple of months, before she retired, my main goal was to learn how to play against her a little bit and maybe be able to beat her.
For sure rivalry is welcome, I can totally take a lot from that. So I think it’s great that we have so many people we can compete against,” Swiatek told The National. After Barty retired from tennis while still in her prime, many were disappointed mainly because the general belief was that Barty and Swiatek would have made the next great rivalry in the women’s game.
In 2022, Swiatek enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory. The women’s game isn’t lacking talented players but Swiatek is waiting for someone to challenge her for Grand Slam titles and the top spot. It remains to be seen if someone can rise to the occasion and challenge Swiatek in 2023.