Iga Swiatek reveals key lesson she learned after achieving ‘dream come true’

Iga Swiatek at the 2023 WTA Finals

Iga Swiatek has revealed she learned an important lesson in the way she tried not to let the prospect of regaining the world No 1 ranking affect her after her WTA Finals triumph.

The Polish star also explained she no longer felt like she was “in the shadow” of her spectacular 2022 season following her superb finish to the year.

Swiatek dismantled world No 5 Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-0 in the final of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun on Monday to win the year-end championships for the first time.

The 22-year-old usurped Aryna Sabalenka, who she downed 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals of the event, to reclaim the WTA top spot and secure her second-straight year-end No 1 finish. Swiatek had lost the No 1 ranking to the Belarusian after her fourth round defeat to Jelena Ostapenko at the US Open.

The four-time Grand Slam champion remarkably dropped just 20 games in her five straight-set victories over her fellow top eight players en route to winning the title.

This smashed the previous record of 32 games lost by Serena Williams in 2012 for the fewest games dropped by a player on their way to winning the WTA Finals since the round-robin format was reintroduced in 2003.

Following an incredible 2022 campaign, Swiatek has claimed a tour-leading six titles and compiled a brilliant 68-11 (86.1%) record during another stellar year in 2023.

READ MORE: 2023 WTA Tour: Every singles title winner as Iga Swiatek finishes as the leader with Coco Gauff second

Speaking following her triumph in Cancun, Swiatek reflected on the challenge of backing up her 2022 season and the achievement of returning to world No 1.

“2022 was so amazing that I don’t know if it’s gonna be possible for me to repeat a season like that,” said the Pole in a post-match interview.

“So I just didn’t feel at the end like I’m in the shadow anymore because I knew that I’m having another great season. And honestly, I kind of accepted that I’m not going to have a season like that, like in 2022, and I just looked forward.

“I learned my lesson and this time I didn’t want [the No 1 ranking] to have an impact on me. It did a little bit – it’s hard not to think about stuff like that – but actually, when I went on court, I knew that I had to focus on different things.

“And actually, the conditions here that were kind of tricky, also helped me to just focus on my footwork, my shots, and that just kept me busy from thinking about all of that.

“To return to world No 1 is a dream come true. I’d say I wasn’t expecting that this season. I was hoping that next year would be the year. But I seem to be working hard, concentrating on the right things. So I’m very happy.”

Swiatek has finished her year on an 11-match winning streak – losing just one set during this run – having also claimed the WTA 1000 title in Beijing in October.

READ MORE: WTA Rankings: Sensational stat as Iga Swiatek pips Aryna Sabalenka to year-end No 1 ranking, Coco Gauff at No 3