Swiatek ready to reset after Australian Open fourth-round exit


MELBOURNE, Australia — World No.1 Iga Swiatek says she is ready to go back to the drawing board after her fourth-round exit at the Australian Open. In a marquee match-up between the two reigning major champions from 2022, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina played flawless, power tennis to unseat the top seed 6-4, 6-4.

Takeaways: Rybakina knocks out World No.1 Swiatek in Melbourne upset

“Elena was the one that was more solid today, and I felt like it was more about who is going to put more pressure on the opponent and she did that pretty well,” Swiatek told reporters after the loss. She served as she does usually. I wanted to [push] her back, but on my service games I felt like I need to work really, really hard to get any point because my first serve wasn’t working.

“It was just tough. But for sure I need to work on my mindset and fight a little bit more as I did last season. So, for sure I’m going to take time right now to kind of reset.”

“I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard.

A semifinalist in Melbourne last year enjoyed a dominant first week, dropping just  15 games. But the 21-year-old confessed that she was feeling a different sense of pressure in the first Slam of the season.

“I felt today that I don’t have that much to take from myself to fight even more,” Swiatek said. “I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approach these tournaments, and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard.

“So I’m going to try to chill out a little bit more. That’s all.”

Swiatek has been clear about her desire to separate her results from her effort. “Keep your expectations low and your standards high,” has been an oft-repeated mantra over the last two seasons. Swiatek sees no comparison of her Melbourne experience with the last three majors she’s played as the top seed – she won two of them, after all – but mentally, Swiatek struggled to maintain her tunnel vision through this fortnight.

“I felt the pressure, and I felt that I don’t want to lose instead of I want to win. So that’s, I think, a base of what I should focus on in next couple of weeks.”

Swiatek is confident that her Australian Open result will not linger, precisely because her disappointment is not in the result but in the event as a whole. She leaves Australia with a 6-2 record, with losses to No.3 Jessica Pegula and Rybakina. She is currently scheduled to play the WTA 500 in Doha and WTA 1000 in Dubai in February. 

“I think I’ll be able to move past it and also learn from it. Usually if my whole experience at the tournament was tougher and then it comes to an end, I’m able actually to not focus about the fact that I lost the match, but about the overall performance and what’s going on with me.

“I think it’s going to be motivating for me, and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to play next tournaments with something to focus on, something to work on, and I think I’m going to go forward.”

February’s Middle East swing will kick off an intense series of tournaments for Swiatek, who began her 37-match win streak with a title run in Doha and continued it to win Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome, and Roland Garros. 



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