Iga Swiatek has embraced the pressure that comes with being world number one and will go into the French Open as the overwhelming favourite to clinch a second major title, tennis great Martina Navratilova said.
After replacing Ash Barty at the top of the world rankings following the Australian’s shock retirement in March, Swiatek has seemingly revelled in her status as the top women’s player.
The 20-year-old Pole won her maiden Grand Slam title on Roland Garros’s red clay in 2020 and has arrived in Paris having won five consecutive titles, including four WTA 1000 events, and 28 straight matches.
“You can’t be any hotter than she is right now,” 18-times Grand Slam winner Navratilova told the WTA. “She’s playing great and she’s healthy – that’s a fantastic combination. She’s fresh and battle-tough at the same time.
“She looks pretty unbeatable on any surface, particularly the clay now. So we have an overwhelming favourite going into the French, when it was wide open last year.
“Clearly, the pressure is not bothering her. She’s just embracing that. It’s great to see – when you are the favourite, and you keep on winning.”
Australian Sam Stosur, who won the US Open in 2011 and reached the final at Roland Garros the previous year, said Swiatek’s confidence was sky-high and she was currently the strongest in the world mentally.
“If you’re winning back-to-back titles, you’re feeling incredible, that confidence grows,” Stosur told the Australian Open website.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on, you’re going to step out onto that court and think that you’re going to win every single match. And I think that (feeling) is just building and building and building. Any small weakness, or any small bit of doubt, is getting erased every time she steps on court with another win. I think it’s pretty hard to go past someone who’s been so dominant for the last couple of months on tour... and winning a lot of these matches relatively comfortably.”
List of French Open WOmen’s chamPs since 2011
2021 Barbora Krejcikova
2020 Iga Swiatek
2019 Ashleigh Barty
2018 Simona Halep
2017 Jelena Ostapenko
2016 Garbine Muguruza
2015 Serena Williams
2014 Maria Sharapova
2013 Serena Williams
2012 Maria Sharapova
2011 Li Na
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