Iga Swiatek is currently surfing on a wave of success. The new number one in the women’s world rankings looks back on a particularly emotional moment.
Putting on headphones, turning up the volume and letting herself be really pushed by hard guitar riffs – that’s part of Iga Swiatek’s routine before her big hits.
With songs like “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses or AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”, the 20-year-old gets herself up to operating temperature.
The new number one, however, could not control her emotions even with music in a message just a few days ago.
“I cried for 40 minutes,” Swiatek told BBC Sport of the moment she learned of the retirement of previous number one Ashleigh Barty.
“I didn’t know that was going to happen and it really surprised me. I’ve always had this vision that we’re all going to play until we’re 35 or something, until our bodies are so tired that we can’t anymore.”
“It took me time to really understand what she must have been thinking. Her decision was really brave and I felt a lot of emotion about it,” she added.
Swiatek grieves after Barty resigns
The Pole knows that she is probably the biggest beneficiary of her rival’s decision. Since Monday, Swiatek has been leading the world rankings for the first time after Barty’s retirement – and with a comfortable lead.
With her aggressive play, powerful groundstrokes and great variety, Swiatek is currently unstoppable. The Pole made the “Sunshine Double” perfect on Saturday with her next dominant performance in Miami – fittingly at the “Hard Rock Stadium”.
After winning the tournament in Indian Wells, Swiatek snatched the trophy with a 6-4, 6-0 win over four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka of Japan. Before the double in the USA, she had also won in Doha.
“I feel like I need to celebrate,” Swiatek said after her 17th consecutive match win: “I don’t know how long I can keep this streak going.”
On a par with Graf, Clijsters and Azarenka
The 2020 French Open winner made it into an elite circle – Swiatek became the fourth and youngest player after Steffi Graf (1994/1996), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Victoria Azarenka (2016) to complete the double at Indian Wells and Miami.
“I feel quite privileged to be one of these players, I wouldn’t have even dared to dream of that a few years ago,” she said.