Consistency key for Iga Swiatek as she learns to manage expectations as world No 1 – ‘It’s an exciting time’

Iga Swiatek chatting

Iga Swiatek produced one of her “best performances” to win a second Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title and afterwards she admitted that she is starting to really love life as the world No 1.

After missing her Miami Open title defence due to injury, Swiatek was not too sure what to expect when she made her return in Stuttgart last week.

The defending champion started with a comfortable win over Qinwen Zheng in the second round before she was pushed to three sets by Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-final. Her semi-final clash against Ons Jabeur lasted only three games before the Tunisian threw in the towel due to injury.

The final pitted the world No 1 against the world No 2 as she faced Aryna Sabalenka. It was expected to be a close contest, especially as Sabalenka has been in brilliant form this year with a 19–2 record heading into the match while she also won the pair’s last encounter at the WTA Finals last year.

But it was a dominant display from Swiatek as she broke in game eight of the first set and in game one of the second set.

“Honestly, when I came here I wasn’t expecting to play that well,” the top seed told The Associated Press after the win. “I am pretty happy to be in that place and holding the trophy, it’s a really wonderful time.

“I am proud of myself and the team that we were able to get better and better every match. For sure, the final was so intense, I am just happy that I was able to keep the good level.

“It’s one of the best performances I have played, but every tournament is different. Some things you have to take into consideration for sure, you know, coming back from injury and not feeling perfectly in terms of my level at the beginning of the tournament made it even more special that I can pay so well tonight. So, I am happy yeah.”

Swiatek celebrated a year as No 1 at the beginning of April and after initially feeling the pressure that comes along with sitting top of the WTA Rankings, the 21-year-old is starting to feel settled as number one.

“I’m just pretty proud of my consistency, because when I was consistent on another level, it was nice, but this level kind of, it’s over my expectations even,” she said.

“Last year was really, really tough, and I felt like this season may be tough, because of what people are saying and expectations from the outside.

“I’m happy that I managed to work through it. That was probably the biggest thing that I had to go through at the beginning of the year.”

She added: “Now I feel like I just can use my experience a little bit more, more than worry about stuff. I’m just happy that I’m world No 1 for more than a year, and it’s an exciting time.”

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