Former WTA star reveals why she thinks Aryna Sabalenka was the best player in 2023 over Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka pose

Andrea Petkovic has claimed Aryna Sabalenka was the WTA player of the year in 2023 and has a “small edge” over Iga Swiatek because she “could’ve won all four Grand Slams.”

The former world No 9 highlighted the fact that Sabalenka made deep runs at all four Majors and was in a winning position in the three matches she lost.

Swiatek finished the season as the WTA world No 1 after claiming six titles and posting a brilliant 68-11 (86.1%) record. The Pole, who won the 2023 French Open, overtook Sabalenka to secure top spot with her victory at the WTA Finals in Cancun in November – the final event of the season.

Sabalenka ended the year as world No 2, having claimed three titles and compiled an impressive 55-14 (79.7%) record. The 25-year-old usurped Swiatek to become world No 1 for the first time after the 2023 US Open.

The Belarusian started the season by winning her maiden Grand Slam title with her victory over Elena Rybakina in the final of the Australian Open.

Sabalenka lost 7-5 in the third set to Karolina Muchova in the last four at the French Open in June after leading 5-2 and having a match point in the decider.

The world No 2 also fell in three sets in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in July, having been up a set and 4-2 against Ons Jabeur.

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek makes Aryna Sabalenka admission after their intense battle for year-end No 1 ranking

In the US Open final in September, Sabalenka was beaten by Coco Gauff in three sets after she had won the first set 6-2 and been unable to convert two break points in the opening game of the second set.

Speaking on an episode of The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, Petkovic suggested Sabalenka could have won a Calendar Grand Slam this year given the nature of her losses in Majors.

“The reason why Aryna Sabalenka is the player of the year [and] that she has a small edge over Iga Swiatek – she could’ve won all four Slams [in 2023],” the German said.

“She won the Australian Open and she was 5-2 in the third set against Karolina Muchova [in the French Open semi-finals]. Until then, she was No 1 in leading wins on tour, she had won by far the most matches until then and it did kind of break her.

“Then again, semi-finals at Wimbledon, she should have won that match against Ons Jabeur too. She was up a set and had break points, multiple break points, the momentum was completely on her side, lost that match.

“The same thing happened at the final of the US Open when she was up a set and the momentum was completely on her side to beat Coco.”

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek’s 2024 tennis schedule: Where will the world No 1 begin her new season?

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