Monica Seles and Ashleigh Barty applaud Iga Swiatek after ‘huge achievement’

Shahida Jacobs
Iga Swiatek reacts Miami Open 2024
Iga Swiatek points after winning a match

Monica Seles and Ashleigh Barty were among several tennis greats to pay tribute to Iga Swiatek following her latest rankings milestone.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek has become only the ninth women’s player in history to spend 100 weeks at No 1 in the WTA Rankings. She followed in the footsteps of the great Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Seles, Barty and Justine Henin.

Of that esteemed group, Swiatek is the fifth youngest to achieve the feat of 100 weeks at No 1 and there is no doubt that she will likely surpass Henin (117) and Barty (121) over the next year or so.

The 22-year-old, in her second stint at No 1, has spent the last 25 weeks at the top to go with her 75 consecutive weeks from April 2022 to September 2023.

Nine-time Grand Slam winner Seles, who dominated in the early 90s, feels the Pole’s hard work and dedication have been key to her success.

“Congratulations Iga on an incredible achievement of 100 weeks as the No 1 player in the world of tennis! Your dedication and hard work have truly paid off. Keep inspiring us with your amazing talent on the court!” she told the official WTA website.

READ MORE: Women who have spent most weeks at No 1 in WTA Rankings: Steffi Graf No 1

Since climbing to No 1 for the first time just over two years ago, Swiatek has won two French Open titles and the 2022 US Open. She also enjoyed an incredible 37-match unbeaten run in 2022 as she won six titles in a row.

Swiatek took over at the top when Barty retired in March 2022 and at the time some doubted whether she was a worthy No 1, but she has proven those doubters wrong.

Barty said: “One-hundred weeks at No 1 is a huge achievement in any era. Congratulations to Iga. I’m so happy for her and have loved watching her hard work pay off.”

The Pole has also been the year-end No 1 for the past two years, something which Navratilova feels shows the true quality of a player.

“There’s been a bunch of No 1s, but they weren’t all No 1 at the end of the year,” she said. “For me, it’s how many times you’ve been No 1 at the end of the year.”

The 18-time Grand Slam singles winner added: “Everybody’s after you. Every single person. You are going to be on their resume forever, because how many times do you beat a No.1 player in the world?

“You can’t win, you cannot move up in the rankings. You can only widen the gap.”