We often forget how young professional tennis players are. In the case of World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, 22, she was ascending to the top of the game when Ashleigh Barty abruptly retired in 2022 and vacated her role as the World No. 1. Swiatek is shedding her somewhat introverted personality to share what she has learned about herself and the game in the past two years.
Swiatek was as shocked as everyone else when Barty announced her retirement on Instagram in March 2022 at the age of 25. Barty was the reigning Australian Open champion and World No. 1. Swiatek remembers calling her dad crying despite it being the middle of the night where he was.
In her mind, tennis players continued to play until they were at least 32 and their bodies started to give out. Nearly two years later, she understands and respects Ash for walking away from the game on her terms and showing everyone that the player can make that decision whenever she feels it is right for her. This is one of many reasons why Swiatek has worked to let go of preconceived notions about her career.
What Iga Swiatek has learned so far
This does not mean that Swiatek is eyeing retirement anytime soon. One of her professional goals is to win all four Grand Slams. Thus far, she has won the French Open three times (2020, 2022, 2023) and the US Open one time (2022).
Swiatek has learned the dangers of social media and shies away from the excessive use of it due to the hate players sometimes get after bad matches. She has also learned to be more outspoken for the other players in her role as World No. 1.
While a lot has changed in Swiatek’s life since Barty retired, some things have not. She is still a bookworm who always carries a book with her while traveling. Books are her escape and keep her centered during the rigors of a very long (11 months) tennis season that is filled with many ups and downs.
Will Swiatek add to her trophy case by winning her maiden Australian Open in 2024? We will find out soon enough as play begins in less than a month.