Former world No 1 weighs in on Iga Swiatek’s ‘aura’ as he makes ‘intimidating’ claim

Ewan West
Iga Swiatek reacts Miami Open 2024
Iga Swiatek points after winning a match

Former world No 1 Andy Roddick has proclaimed that Iga Swiatek becomes “more intimidating” the more she accomplishes as he discussed the idea of elite athletes having an “aura.”

The 2003 US Open champion argued players become intimidating to face because of what they present on court, and not due to their behaviour or presence in the locker room.

Swiatek has made a superb start to the 2024 season, having compiled a 22-3 record and claimed two titles at WTA 1000 events in Doha and Indian Wells. The world No 1 holds a healthy lead over Aryna Sabalenka at the top of the WTA Rankings.

The four-time Grand Slam champion saw her hopes of winning the Sunshine Double for the second time end with a last 16 defeat to Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Miami Open earlier this week.

The 22-year-old Pole will now begin her preparations for the clay-court season ahead of her bid to win a third straight French Open title. Swiatek has already won Roland Garros three times — in 2020, 2022 and 2023.

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek reveals she ‘couldn’t sleep’ at tournament which was ‘very difficult emotionally’

In a discussion with journalist John Wertheim on his Served with Andy Roddick podcast, Roddick addressed a question from a fan about Swiatek’s aura.

Wertheim said: “I got a really interesting question, like half an hour ago before we did this. This whole idea of aura. Novak [Djokovic] losing his aura in the locker room. Conversely, does Iga have so much aura that’s worth ‘X’ games even before she goes on court?”

Roddick gave his thoughts on the concept of aura in sports in his response: “I think aura is this catch-all word which, in fact, we’re talking about accomplishment. The more accomplishments Iga Swiatek has, the more intimidating it is to play her.

“Not because she walks in the locker room and everyone moves out of the way to create a line. Everyone goes about their business, when you’re on the court, you’re confronted with what they’re presenting as a player and that is the intimidating thing.

“It’s one of these things that, like, I think fans use a lot. I think some journalists use a lot. Michael Jordan is like, ‘I will flip a switch!’ No, if you’re an athlete, you’d choose to play well all the time. That’s the point.

“It’s not as if we’re ever out there one time in my entire life and I’ve been in the first round of Miami and I’m playing great, ‘Maybe if I play worse now, I’ll play better later,’ like that’s not a f***ing thing.

“So aura is not a halo around someone’s head. The aura comes with knowing that you have to change your style of play, and that is intimidating in its own way. It’s the adjustments that you have to make.”

READ MORE: Former world No 1 compares Iga Swiatek to Roger Federer and feels ‘her career has been undersold’