Iga Swiatek has upped her game since losing top spot in the WTA Rankings to Aryna Sabalenka and tennis commentator Alex Corretja believes it is only a matter of time before the Pole returns to No 1.
After becoming world No 1 for the first time in her career at the age of 20 in April 2001, Swiatek spent 75 consecutive weeks at the top before she was bumped down to No 2 on the back of her round of 16 loss at the US Open with Sabalenka taking over at No 1.
The Pole then suffered a shock quarter-final loss at the Japan Open, leading to suggestions that she had lost her mojo, but she returned to title-winning ways at the China Open – defeating the likes of US Open champion Coco Gauff and reigning WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia en route to lifting her first WTA 1000 title of the 2023 season.
Two-time French Open runner-up Corretja has been impressed with Swiatek since she lost the No 1 spot.
“She’s a fighter. She is someone that, it doesn’t really matter for her. If she’s going to be No 1 or No 2, she’s showing all the time that she wants to improve. That she’s trying different things, that she’s also been a little bit more open,” he told Eurosport.
“I think she’s understanding that she’s not playing for one or two tournaments. She’s playing for the next 10 years.”
The four-time Grand Slam winner’s Beijing success also helped her to reduce the gap to Sabalenka at the top of the rankings and they are separated by 836 points with just the season-ending WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, still to come.
Corretja believes Swiatek will return to No 1 “at some point”, but he is also excited about the battle between the world’s top two players.
“When you are on court, you are on your own, but you have a team surround you, behind you, that brings you a little bit the ideas of what you can improve and what you need to do,” the Spaniard added.
“I think it’s just great to see that maybe she lost the No 1 but, for her, it was not a devastating situation.
“She just played better and better and she’s going to be there for so many years and she will come back to No 1 at some point again. This is going to be very interesting.”