Aryna Sabalenka - Australian Open 2024 and Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2023

Iga Swiatek acknowledges importance of rivalry with Aryna Sabalenka but claims to have a ‘different vision’

Iga Swiatek has acknowledged the importance of her enthralling rivalry with Aryna Sabalenka, but claims to have a different vision when it comes to training.

The Pole saved three championship points to defeat her counterpart 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7) in a captivating Madrid Open final lasting over three hours, earning her maiden title in the Spanish capital.

Just moments after the iconic celebrations, Swiatek’s thoughts were not centred on her personal targets or what it meant to her – she recognised the significance of these types of contests and what a rivalry like hers and Sabalenka’s does for the sport.

“Who’s going to say now that women’s tennis is boring?” Swiatek said.

The WTA Tour has longed for rivalries at the top of the game, particularly after the retirements of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

But the current world No.1 and No.2 have ignited something between them, with Swiatek increasing her head-to-head lead over Sabalenka to 7-3 after Saturday’s final.

What did Iga Swiatek say about Aryna Sabalenka?

When asked about Sabalenka’s approach to their rivalry on an episode of the WTA Insider podcast following the Madrid final, Swiatek claimed to have a different method to success.

The Belarusian has been vocal about the need to chase down Swiatek, claiming that this has driven her to improvements, though Swiatek denied to have the same outlook.

“I wouldn’t say I have this vision like she [Sabalenka] has,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m not thinking about her when I’m practising or something.

“It’s more that I know that the competition is big. And I know if I’m gonna stop for a while, I might be pushed out, you know?

“I had this kind of thing actually in the Rome 2022 final against Ons [Jabeur]. Physically, I was, like, ‘Oh my god!’ I was so tired. Rallies were long. Ons was playing a pretty tricky game, you had to run different directions and everything.

“So that game, for the next few years when I was doing the worst practices on the court or airbike or whatever and I was dying, I was actually thinking about that game.

“So, this was that kind of moment that Aryna may be talking about. But I didn’t have that with her. It’s more like you feel competition is big, and we have to push for more.”

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.