World primary Iga Swiatek mentioned Saturday she was prepared for an “intense” opening Australian Open match whereas paying tribute to retired champion Ashleigh Barty for uplifting her to better heights. Poland’s Swiatek begins her Grand Slam marketing campaign on Monday in opposition to Jule Neimeier, the German world quantity 68 who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon final 12 months. Extra not too long ago, the pair clashed within the final 16 on the US Open, the place Swiatek needed to dig deep after dropping the primary set earlier than coming by 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 and happening to win the match.
“We performed within the US Open, and also you noticed how intense that match was, how robust,” Swiatek advised reporters.
“It is not going to be straightforward. However any match in a Grand Slam is all the time extra intense and extra demanding than different tournaments. I will be prepared for it.”
Swiatek, the highest seed, is a powerful favorite for the primary Grand Slam of the 12 months within the absence of final 12 months’s retired champion Barty.
The Australian, who’s pregnant, dropped into Melbourne Park on Saturday for “youngsters’ day” and loved a light-hearted apply hit with Swiatek, who took over from her as world primary.
“When she retired I felt like she nonetheless had one of the best tennis on the market,” mentioned Swiatek. “So, yeah, I used to be fairly unhappy that I am not going to have the ability to compete in opposition to her and possibly win.”
However the 21-year-old credited Barty for making her a greater participant.
“She gave me lots by way of my motivation and my type of willingness to apply much more and to have extra selection on courtroom.
“Once I performed in opposition to her, I felt she simply had all these totally different sport types and slices. Even in her e-book she says she has 5 kinds of slice. I do not understand how that is attainable. I nonetheless have not discovered just one sort.
“I’ve like large respect for Ash. She actually gave me large motivation at first of final season to get even higher. I am type of grateful for that.”
Swiatek seized on Barty’s retirement to dominate 2022, securing eight WTA titles and turning into the primary lady in six years to win two Grand Slams in the identical season — at Roland Garros and New York.
Now she has her sights on a maiden title at Melbourne Park, which would depart her needing solely a Wimbledon championship to finish a profession slam of all 4 majors.
Swiatek departed in tears after dropping to American world quantity three Jessica Pegula on the latest United Cup, and admitted she wanted to be kinder to herself.
“I feel I am all the time going to have this a part of me that could be a perfectionist,” she mentioned.
“Once I’m not feeling comfy on courtroom, it is type of onerous to not be harsh.
“It is for positive getting higher. However, yeah, I imply, we care a lot and we give ourselves to this sport that it is generally robust to search out this stability. However I am getting higher at it, for positive.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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