June 21, 2024

Iga Swiatek believes the gruelling tennis calendar means players “don’t have time to rest properly” between tournaments. The game’s top-ranked stars have to play in Grand Slam and Masters 1000 events. The spring is a particularly busy time as the European swing takes in Rome, Madrid and Roland-Garros. Swiatek, who will soon look to defend her French Open title, says the schedule is “demanding”.

Iga Swiatek has opened up on her fears how a “demanding” tennis schedule makes it impossible for tired players to peak week after week.
The women’s world No. 1 lifted the Madrid Open title this weekend, beating Aryna Sabalenka 9-7 in a third set tie-break to gain revenge for losing the final to the same opponent last year.
But there is no time for rest, as she now prepares for the Italian Open, a crown she won in 2021 and 2022.

The event in Rome is the fourth Masters tournament since the start of March, and comes ahead of the French Open starting at Roland-Garros on May 27.
Players are contractually obliged to compete in the Masters 1000 Series, as long as they meet the entry requirements, but Swiatek is not sure that the calendar lends itself to the best possible tennis.

“Overall, the Tour is getting more and more demanding, because of the length of the tournaments and all these mandatory rules, both on ATP and WTA,” she said.
“Scheduling-wise, the planning is going to be more important, sometimes even [missing] some tournaments that are important for you, for you to be ready for the next one.
“Even if I win [a tournament], it doesn’t stick in my head. I celebrate for one day, then I’m off to another tournament … in my head.
“We don’t have time to rest properly. You have to use these days [between long-running events] and treat them a little bit like days off.
“These tournaments are longer and it’s not possible to have days off [like] before, so sometimes you have to have them during.”

The Pole is the top seed in Italy, where she has had a couple of days to prepare since her success in Madrid.
Because of her ranking, she receives a bye in the first round, and will play Caroline Dolehide or a qualifier in the second.
Sabalenka, as the second seed, is on the other half of the draw, as is world No. 4 Elena Rybakina, meaning Swiatek cannot face either until the final.

Her potential last-four opponent though is 2023 US Open champion Coco Gauff, whom she beat in the 2022 French Open final on clay.
“I’m happy to be here because I love this place,” she added. “I spent my first two days eating!
“I’ve already practiced today in the morning. For sure it’s a challenge to adapt. But it’s nice to have problems like that.”

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