A humble Ash Barty has congratulated Iga Swiatek after Barty’s surprise retirement saw her become the new World No. 1, claiming “there is no better person” to wear the number one crown.
On Friday, March 25, Swiatek secured an impressive win against Swiss tennis player, Viktorija Golubic, in the second round of the Miami Open, securing her the number one spot and making her the first from her country to head to the WTA rankings and the world’s youngest player to hold the top spot.
The newly-achieved status will be officially registered on April 4, 2022, when the next rankings are released.
In a post-match interview on Friday, March 25, Barty praised the young tennis star and close friend, wishing Swiatek success in her tennis career.
“There is no better person. The way that she’s brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible,” Barty said.
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Barty encouraged Swiatek to go “her own way” when carving out her career in tennis, a comment that hinted at Barty’s own career-defining decisions.
“I hope she can take it and still be her, do it her own way, and really chase what she’s after in her career and her dreams,” she said.
Following Barty’s bombshell retirement, Swiatek admitted it had been a particularly emotional time for her given Barty had been her long-time inspiration.
“You already know that I like to cry, so I was crying for a long time,” Swiatek explained in Miami.
“There was lot of confusion in me, for sure. But also sadness because when I think of the player that is really complete in terms of physicality, mentality, tennis-wise, I always thought of Ash and I always looked up to her,” Swiatek admitted in a recent post-match interview in Miami.”
Swiatek admitted “it would be really nice also to be able to compete against her for the next few years”.
“Actually try to play better and better, to be able to beat her slice. We’re going to miss her, for sure,” she said.
“I really respect and I really think she’s brave that she has made this decision because with all the expectations around.”
The pair have played against each other twice in the past, once in 2021 and again this year, 2o22. Their 2021 game saw Barty secure a 7-6, 5-4 win against Swiatek, with Barty again coming out on top in this year’s match, 6-6, 2-4.