Martina Navratilova lavished praise on Iga Swiatek for her performance at the 2023 WTA Finals, one which helped the Pole finish the year as the World No. 1.
Swiatek came into the season-finale as the World No. 2 and needed to go all the way in the tournament to snatch the No. 1 spot from Aryna Sabalenka. She did just that, going 3-0 in the group stage and before defeating Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula in the semifinals and final, respectively.
Swiatek’s display at the WTA Finals has convinced Navratilova that the 22-year-old is better than anybody else when she is operating at her best. The American also admitted that she did not think Iga Swiatek would be able to finish next year at World No. 1 based on her 2023 season but that she was now reconsidering her opinion.Having initially believed that World No. 3 Coco Gauff would be able to push for the top spot in 2024, the 18-time Grand Slam champion now reckons Swiatek will be impossible to overtake for both Gauff and Sabalenka if she manages to stay healthy and fresh in the new year.
“That was Iga showing that, at her best, she is better than anybody. I mean, in difficult conditions, she just blew right through everybody. She gets into the points better and knows how to close the deal. I’ll be honest … a few weeks ago, based on what I was seeing, I didn’t think she’d finish 2024 at No.1 next year — I was picking Gauff.
“Now I think maybe Gauff will pass Sabalenka for No.2. But I don’t know if either one of them can get past Iga if she has a good offseason, stays healthy, stays fresh,” Martina Navratilova said in an interview with the WTA.
Iga Swiatek reflected on her 2023 season following the WTA Finals, stating that she learned a lot during the year. The World No. 1 was particularly grateful to her team for supporting her through the ups and downs during the season, stating that she would not have been able to achieve what she did without their help.
“What a season that was… I saw, did and learned so much. Before I’ll start my much needed vacation, I would like to leave here some words of appreciation, gratitude and some thoughts. I would like to thank my team. I wouldn’t be in this place without you. I want to thank everyone who supports me every day through the ups and downs of every season,” Swiatek posted on Instagram.
The 22-year-old won six titles in 2023, the most notable of which came at the French Open. In addition to the WTA Finals, she also won one WTA 1000 title at the China Open.