“It’s nice to have somebody constantly watching you” – Iga Swiatek on her ‘Big-3’ rivalry with Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina

“It’s nice to have somebody constantly watching you” – Iga Swiatek on her ‘Big-3’ rivalry with Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina

Together with Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, Iga Swiatek has heralded the arrival of a new ‘Big-3’ in women’s tennis, one that continues to dominate the tour. The trio are the defending champions of all four Grand Slams at the moment — Swiatek holding the French Open and the US Open, Sabalenka holding the Australian Open and Rybakina holding Wimbledon.

Touching on their budding rivalry during her pre-tournament press conference at the 2023 French Open, Swiatek admitted that it was nice to have somebody constantly putting pressure on her, as it helped them all become better than they would have otherwise.

The World No. 1 felt it was the same effect the original ‘Big-3’ of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had on each other, forcing themselves and the others to constantly stay on their toes.

“Well, for sure, like I said, totally different situation than last year. It’s nice to have, you know, somebody constantly like kind of watching you. We played so many matches against each other that tactically we know our game pretty well,”Iga Swiatek said.

“But we also have to kind of come up with some different solutions sometimes, which is pretty exciting, because I never had that yet in my career. I think this is what like big three had to do for sure when they played like, I don’t know, 30 matches against each other or even more,”she added.

At the same time, the Pole maintained that she was not thinking about such things as she comes into Roland Garros, noting that she was making use of this time to train aspects of her game she usually doesn’t have the time to focus on.

“So I’m happy to learn some new stuff. And also, for sure, you know, we are all working really hard to kind of play better and better. It is an extra motivation, for sure. But the thing is during the season we don’t have much time to practice at all,”Iga Swiatek said.

“So I’m really using this time right now, because it’s my first week since I would say even Indian Wells when I have time to like take everything slowly and just focus on my technique a little bit more. And, yeah, I think it’s going to give me a lot of confidence going to the tournament,”she added.

“I can’t say like I have any deep relationship with them, we respect each other and that’s all”- Iga Swiatek on her relationship with Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Thirteen
Mutua Madrid Open – Day Thirteen

While being fierce rivals on the tennis court with a general respect for each other, Iga Swiatek remarked that she, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka did not have any “deep relationship”off it.

Swiatek was of the opinion that knowing her opponents personally would not be productive either, as she only had the time to think about how to tactically outmaneouver them out on the tennis court.

“Honestly I can’t say like I have any deep relationship with them. We respect each other, and that’s all I would say. But on matches, honestly I’m not really thinking about all the stuff that I’m doing off court. I want to play the best game possible,”Iga Swiatek said.

“Usually when I think about, you know, the player like personally, it doesn’t help. So I just think what I have to do tactically against them, and that’s all. We don’t really have time on a match to overanalyze all the other stuff. I just try to play my game as best as possible. So I don’t really think about all the off-court stuff,”she added.

While Swiatek trails 1-3 in the head-to-head against Rybakina, she has a 5-3 lead against Sabalenka. Rybakina and Sabalenka, meanwhile, have a 4-1 head-to-head in favor of the Belarusian.

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