July 24, 2024

Iga Swiatek speaks after beating Aryna Sabalenka in the 2024 Madrid Open final

Iga Swiatek has said she does not think about Aryna Sabalenka when training in the same way her Belarusian rival has admitted she does about her.

The four-time Grand Slam champion discussed how her rivalry with the Belarusian motivates her, while also revealing she uses a match she won against Ons Jabeur for inspiration.

Iga Swiatek defeated Sabalenka 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7) in a thrilling contest in the final of the 2024 Madrid Open to win the WTA 1000 tournament for the first time.
The 22-year-old Pole now holds a 7-3 record against the two-time Australian Open winner and the three-hour-and-11-minute encounter in the Spanish capital was arguably the pair’s finest battle yet.

Iga Swiatek and Sabalenka, who are the world No 1 and 2 respectively, have claimed five of the last eight Grand Slam titles between them.

The duo are both set to compete at the Italian Open, where main draw play begins today. Swiatek is on the same side of the draw as world No 3 Coco Gauff, while Sabalenka is with world No 4 and defending Rome champion Elena Rybakina.

On an episode of the WTA Insider podcast after Swiatek’s Madrid triumph, host Courtney Nguyen told Swiatek that Sabalenka thinks about her while she is training.

“Aryna has been very vocal the last few years about how trying to chase you down has helped her improve,” Nguyen said.

“She thinks about you when she’s doing hard workouts, things like that. What are things that you have improved on just because you have to play these players all the time?”

In response, Swiatek divulged she does not follow Sabalenka’s approach, but explained the competition does drive her.

“Well, I wouldn’t say I have this vision like she has. I’m not thinking about her when I’m practising or something,” said the three-time French Open champion.

“It’s more that I know that the competition is big. And I know if I’m gonna stop for a while, I might be pushed out, you know?

“I had this kind of thing actually in the Rome 2022 final against Ons [Jabeur]. Physically, I was, like, ‘Oh my god!’ I was so tired. Rallies were long. Ons was playing a pretty tricky game, you had to run different directions and everything.

“So that game, for the next few years when I was doing the worst practices on the court or airbike or whatever and I was dying, I was actually thinking about that game.

“So, this was that kind of moment that Aryna may be talking about. But I didn’t have that with her. It’s more like you feel competition is big, and we have to push for more.”

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