Iga Swiatek's rise to No 1 in WTA rankings caps remarkable run for Pole

New rankings announced after Ashleigh Barty's shock retirement from tennis

Iga Swiatek during her win over Naomi Osaka in the Miami Open final. AFP
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Poland's Iga Swiatek was confirmed as the new WTA No 1 in the rankings on Monday, replacing the retired Ashleigh Barty.

Swiatek, 20, celebrated her new status in style on Sunday, winning the Miami Open with a straight-sets win over four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka. She is the first player from her country to top the rankings.

Swiatek's rise to the top came after three-times Grand Slam champion Barty's shock retirement from tennis last month.

New No 1 Swiatek revealed that she cried after learning of Barty’s decision to call time on her career at the age of 25. “I was crying for 40 minutes,” Swiatek told the BBC. “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 any more.

“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.”

Swiatek found out that she could take over the top spot after her second-round win in Miami. “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,'” Swiatek said.

She eventually went on to lift the title in Miami without dropping a set, defeating Osaka 6-4, 6-0 in the final.

Victory handed Swiatek her third consecutive trophy of the year after wins in Qatar and Indian Wells, making her the first woman to win the opening three WTA 1000 tournaments in a season.

Swiatek won the 2020 French Open and is currently on a 17-match winning streak and looking forward to a chance to decompress and soak in all that has happened.

“Truth be told, I know what kind of tennis I can play. And [in] practices, I was showing a similar level. But I thought that it’s going to be possible for me to play like that in matches maybe in a few years,” Swiatek added.

“So it is a little bit mind-blowing, because I felt like everything clicked this season. And I wasn’t expecting to be that consistent.”

Updated: April 04, 2022, 5:22 PM
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