Tennis-Poland’s Swiatek savors ‘surreal’ No. 1 achievement – Metro US
(Reuters) – Poland’s Iga Swiatek said winning the number one women’s world ranking was a “surreal” feat, with the 20-year-old set to replace retired Ash Barty at the top of the rankings.
Swiatek clinched the rankings after beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 in the second round of the Miami Open on Friday, becoming the first Polish player to claim the top spot in singles.
She will become the new world No. 1 when the WTA rankings are published on April 4. At 20 years and 308 days, Swiatek will be the youngest player to make her No.1 debut since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.
“It’s a dream come true for sure,” Swiatek told reporters. “That’s the kind of thing I wanted to happen one day, but I didn’t really know it would be possible for me.
“I never really imagined this moment, because truth be told, I was working day to day and playing good tennis, but I never had such a belief that it can actually happen. It’s so even more surreal to me.
Swiatek, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2020, said she was ready to face the pressure of being the top-ranked player.
“I think it’s going to be a little different and maybe the hype is going to be a little bit bigger, but I’m ready for that,” she said.
“Honestly, it’s part of the job, so I always knew if I was successful, it would be there. I really appreciate people being really enthusiastic and pumped up because I think sometimes I even play for them.
“But from my point of view, I don’t think anything will change. Maybe I have to look if I’m wearing clean clothes and really if I’m representing tennis well,” she said with a smile.
Swiatek, who has already won titles in Doha and Indian Wells this year, takes over after Barty’s surprising announcement to walk away from the match after winning three Grand Slam titles, including the Australian Open in January.
Barty wasted no time in congratulating Swiatek, who will become the 28th woman to win the No. 1 women’s ranking.
“There’s no better person,” Barty said in a postgame post. “The way she brought that fresh, fearless energy to the pitch has been amazing.
“Hopefully she can put up with it and be herself, do it her own way and really pursue what she’s looking for in her career and her dreams.”
Swiatek said she was grateful for Barty’s words.
“She’s such a great athlete,” Swiatek said. “I always respect Ashleigh and she gave me huge motivation to work on my tennis.”
(This story corrects date in paragraph 3 to April 4)
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)