Ashleigh Barty on ‘incredible person’ Iga Swiatek possibly replacing her as world No 1: ‘There is no better person’

Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek after a match

Iga Swiatek is the hot favourite to take over from Ashleigh Barty as world No 1 and the retiring Australian feels “there is no better person” to replace her at the top of the WTA Rankings.

Barty announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday and she will bow out while world No 1, leaving a vacancy at the top of the rankings.

The 25-year-old has been sitting pretty at the top since September 2019 for an overall total of 185 weeks, but she confirmed that she will remove herself from the rankings when it is updated again after the Miami Open.

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“I’ll be coming off the rankings in the next cycle, which will be after Miami,” she said.

“It’s a new start for the tour, which is going to be really exciting for them. They’ve got exceptional players, great depth. It’s going to be really exciting for them.”

Swiatek won last week’s Indian Wells Open to move to a career-high of No 2 and she is in pole position to replace Barty at the top.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Barty feels the 2020 French Open champion would “thoroughly deserve it”.

“I’m not sure of what the possibilities are. I’ve never been one to look at it much,” the Australian said. “I know that if it is Iga, there is no better person. She’s an incredible person, a great tennis player. The way that she’s brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.

“I loved testing myself against her. I loved playing her. I loved practicing with her and spending time with her team. She’s a brilliant person, and was one of the first to message me, which is really nice.

“I think she thoroughly deserves it. I hope that she can take it and still be her, do it her own way, and really chase what she’s after in her career and her dreams. “