Iga Swiatek ‘has charisma’ to be a great world No 1, but warned to ‘avoid the trap’ of having to impose yourself

Delight for Iga Swiatek

Replacing Ashleigh Barty as the world No 1 was always going to be a tough ask, but Iga Swiatek has the “personality” to become a great world No 1, according to Justine Henin.

Barty stunned the sporting world a fortnight ago when she announced her retirement from tennis with immediate effect as the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion also confirmed she will be removed from the WTA Rankings.

It meant top spot was up for grabs and Swiatek was confirmed as the new world No 1 on the back of her title-winning run at the Indian Wells Open.

Swiatek has followed that up with another title at the Miami Open – her third consecutive WTA 1000 trophy – and before Saturday’s final against Naomi Osaka, which she comfortably won 6-4, 6-0, seven-time Grand Slam winner Henin shared her thoughts about the 20-year-old Pole.

“Barty’s retirement is not good news for women’s tennis today,” she told Eurosport. “She was a girl who brought a lot of creativity, with an extremely complete game. And she had this consistency.

“Iga Swiatek, she has charisma, she can get the public, she likes to play in front of people. I think that she will now have to go for the big titles.

“Iga will have to avoid the trap of that absolute pressure, when you go out on the court as world No 1 of having to impose yourself, of having to win every game.

“But rather taking it as a positive privilege and saying to herself today that she is not stealing this place from anyone. And to continue to work and try to establish a bit more authority.

“She has so much desire to do well that sometimes she loses herself a little in this energy.

“There is experience, maturity that will come into play little by little. She has something in her personality, so we hope she’ll be a great world No 1.”