Iga Swiatek Australian Open 2022

Iga Swiatek opens up on ‘anxiety’ caused by Ash Barty’s shock decision to quit

Iga Swiatek has revealed that Ashleigh Barty’s unexpected retirement caused her anxiety as it thrust her unexpectedly into the world number one spot.

Though Swiatek was in some serious good form at the start of 2022 when Barty opted to walk away from the sport, she was still lagging behind the Australian in the rankings.

That meant she could play without pressure, but that all changed in a day.

“The fact that Ash decided to end her career, I was number two for less than a week, and then in one day I became number one,” Iga Swiatek said. “That meant that I quickly found myself in a new, incredibly demanding situation.

“It was hard not to have expectations after winning six tournaments for six months. I formulated them for myself, but also the outside world imposed them on me. There were voices of anxiety about what was happening to me after losing one game.

Swiatek certainly delivered on those expectations as she won the US Open. It was an important breakthrough for the Pole as before that she had only won a major on clay.

She, though, says she had to overcome plenty of challenges to be able to pull that off.

“For sure, winning the US Open cost me a lot more,” she said. “The entire period in the States was difficult for me and I had to face many challenges, including with balls that lead to a lot of errors and are difficult to control.

“I adapted to all circumstances and I am proud that I survived to the end.

“I would always like to entertain the audience and impress with my game, and in this tournament, I had to learn to win without fireworks. And that was the most valuable lesson for me.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.