Iga Swiatek ‘cried for a long time’ over Ashleigh Barty retirement and admits she is ‘scared’ about being No 1

Iga Swiatek talks to the media

Iga Swiatek shed quite a few tears after she heard about Ashleigh Barty’s retirement as she was looking forward to competing against the Australian over the next few years.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Barty announced her decision to bow out of tennis with immediate effect on Wednesday, saying “the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams”.

Former French Open winner Swiatek paid tribute to the Australian, saying she “always looked up to her”.

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“You already know that I like to cry, so I was crying for a long time,” the Pole said. “I mean, there was lot of confusion in me, for sure.

“But also sadness because when I think of the player that is really complete in terms of physicality, mentality, tennis-wise, I always thought of Ash and I always looked up to her. I mean, I still do.

“It would be really nice also to be able to compete against her for the next few years and actually try to play better and better, to be able to beat her slice. We’re going to miss her, for sure.”

Barty also confirmed that she will be removed from the WTA Rankings when it is updated after the Miami Open, meaning a new No 1 will be crowned on April 4.

Swiatek is the No 1 in waiting as she is second in the rankings and, with Barbora Krejcokova not competing in Florida, it is all but a sure thing.

“I was already scared,” the 20-year-old said. “They said it may be possible that I’m going to be world No 1.

“Honestly, when we really thought about the situation and when we read all the news, all the rules that may apply, we realised there’s no sense to actually think about that right now because we have such a short time to prepare for another tournament. We’ve got to stay focused on our work.”