Iga Swiatek news: World No 1 ready to return to court just in time for Italian Open

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World No 1 Iga Swiatek took some time away from the WTA Tour following her win at the Stuttgart Open due to injury but she is feeling rested, refreshed and is ready to return this week for the Italian Open.

The Polish player was already having a successful season before former world No 1 Ashleigh Barty announced the news that she was retiring, but the Aussie’s departure catapulted Swiatek to the top of the table and she’s been unstoppable ever since.

Before her two week break she won four tournaments in a row as she beat Anett Kontaveit in the final of the Qatar Open, overcame Maria Sakkari at the Indian Wells Masters, defeated former Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in Miami and most recently she saw off Aryna Sabalenka in Germany.

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Swiatek herself has even recognised that her game is different this season but definitely isn’t just breezing through.

“Last year I feel I was still trying to find some consistency in the wins that I had and also confirmation that Roland Garros wasn’t just a one off tournament. I feel like I found that and I feel like I can move forward and just focus on my next goals,” the 20-year-old said in a press conference ahead of the Rome Masters.

“The tournaments that I played this year have shown me that I can play better tennis on hard courts, right now the transition that I have to do is clay, it’s pretty different because usually it was like, ‘Whoa, clay, finally I can play well.’ Right now it’s a little bit different because I feel like my level was high anyway – it didn’t strike me the same this year.

“(On training at the Rafael Nadal Academy) It’s pretty weird because I really rested, then they almost killed me on the practices, hopefully it’s going to give me more power and I’m going to be more ready to play well next tournaments.”

Even though Swiatek wasn’t at the Madrid Open, she was still the topic of conversation, something which has shocked and surprised her.

“That is probably one of the nicest things I experienced on tour I would say, I saw what Coco (Gauff) was saying and Ons (Jabeur). I wasn’t even hoping that players were going to talk about me that way because it’s such a nice thing,” the French Open winner explained.

“Honestly I’m pretty glad with just being myself and people are thinking that I’m nice and stuff, it’s kind of sometimes overwhelming that they’re looking up to me because honestly two years ago I was the one looking up to everybody. It’s such a new position for me that I don’t really know how to react.

“Hopefully I’m going to get used to it and hopefully I’m going to have a chance to show good work and good kind of examples.”

Swiatek kicks off her Italian Open campaign tomorrow.