How I cried for 40 mins over Barty’s shock retirement – Swiatek

How I cried for 40 mins as Barty retires - Swiatek

20-year-old Iga Swiatek has revealed that she was in tears when she learnt that Ashleigh Barty, the recent dominant force in women’s tennis was retiring.

A fortnight later, 20-year-old Swiatek has replaced Barty as world number one and marked the achievement in style by winning the Miami Open.

The triumph extended Swiatek’s winning streak to 17 matches and was her third title in a row after also lifting WTA 1000 titles – the most important tournaments beneath the Grand Slams – in Doha and Indian Wells.

The first emotion for Swiatek, like everyone in the tennis world, was a shock when Barty announced her decision to quit aged 25.

“I was crying for 40 minutes,” Swiatek, who shot to fame by winning the 2020 French Open title as a teenager, told BBC Sport.

“Mainly, it was because of Ash’s retirement. I didn’t know it was going to happen and it really surprised me.

“I always had this vision that we would all play until we are 35 or something until our bodies are so tired that we can’t anymore.

“I needed time to actually understand what she must have thought. Her decision was really brave and I felt a lot of emotions because of that.”

The second emotion was an element of fear. Suddenly, Swiatek found herself in pole position to take over the mantle as the top-ranked female player on the planet.

“I also felt emotional because of my own position,” she said.

“I realised after two hours of being really emotional that ‘hey, you don’t know what is going to happen yet and you still have to win some matches’.

“So I told myself ‘let’s wait with the emotions and with being excited because I have work to do’.”

Two days later, a focused Swiatek secured her rise to the top of the rankings with a second-round win against Viktorija Golubic at the Miami Open.

From there, she continued to excel. She did not drop another set all week.

In the final she demonstrated all of her best attributes – crushing forehand winners, the ability to defend stoutly and quickly transition into attack, a ruthless determination to maintain the pressure on opponents – to sweep aside four-time major champion Naomi Osaka.

“Emotionally it has been really intense and I have felt a range of emotions – from being proud and having satisfaction, to confusion and surprise,” Swiatek said about emerging as the tour’s dominant player.

“These last weeks showed me I can trust in myself a little bit more and trust my skills and my tennis. Before I didn’t really know it was possible for me to have a streak like that. So it also kind of surprised me.

“After Doha and after Indian Wells I didn’t have time to digest what I’ve achieved. Right now I am going to take some time to analyse what happened from a ‘work’ point of view.”

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel