Iga Swiatek revealed that the pressure of defending her world No. 1 status was "overwhelming," expressing her belief that Aryna Sabalenka would have deserved to finish 2023 as the top-ranked player. Despite the challenges, Swiatek reclaimed the No. 1 ranking by winning the China Open and the WTA Finals in Cancun, crediting a shift in mentality after a disappointing exit from the US Open for her late-season success.
Reflecting on her demanding season, Swiatek shared her pride in exceeding expectations and regaining the No. 1 spot in Cancun amid unique circumstances and intense pressure. Acknowledging Sabalenka's impressive season, including a Grand Slam victory and multiple deep runs in major tournaments, Swiatek expressed her preference for focusing on different aspects of her game rather than the No. 1 ranking, which she found overwhelming during the middle of the season.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Swiatek emphasized the increased mental and physical demands on top female players, with the WTA calendar featuring additional 1000-level tournaments and extended events in Madrid and Beijing. The Paris Olympics, scheduled between Wimbledon and the US Open, adds to the challenges. Swiatek called on tennis authorities to align their decisions with their promotion of mental and physical well-being, urging measures that support the principles they advocate in the sport.