‘Probably the best thing…’: Mats Wilander passes huge verdict on Iga Swiatek losing World No. 1 spot to Aryna Sabalenka
Iga Swiatek will lose her World No. 1 spot to Aryna Sabalenka on Monday, when the WTA points are recalculated.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek crashed out of the ongoing US Open 2023, losing to Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko at the Flushing Meadows on Monday. The Pole won the first set, but ended up losing the next two in a 6-3 3-6 1-6 defeat. Swiatek, who reached the world No. 1 ranking on April 4 2022, will finally lose that spot on Monday and will become world No. 2. Meanwhile, the top spot will go to Aryna Sabalenka.
The Belarus star defeated Madison Keys in the semi-final, claiming a 0-6 7(7)-6(1) 7(10)-6(5) victory. She will face Coco Gauff in the final. Speaking to Eurosport, tennis legend Mats Wilander feels that losing the No. 1 spot can turn out to be 'best thing' that can happen to Swiatek's career. Swiatek held it for 75 consecutive weeks.
"I think this is most probably the best thing that can happen for her tennis. There’s a reason for her to start working on her game again and figuring out what happens to her when she plays against big hitters now she doesn’t have to [worry about being world No 1]. But she’s right in the statement about defending", he said.
"We turn into a bit of a negative, we talk about defending, defending points, so I think it’s time for her to step aside and work on her game a bit", he further added.
The 22-year-old is a four-time Major Singles champion, winning the French Open in 2020, 2022 and 2023, and the US Open in 2022. She is also the first player representing Poland to clinch a major singles title and she has bagged a total of 15 WTA Tour-level titles. During her French Open title run in 2020, she did not lose more than five games in any singles match.
She entered the top-ten for the first time in May 2021, after winning the Italian Open. AFter retirement of world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Swiatek became the first Polish player, male or female, to reach the top ranking in singles on April 4 2022.