Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Iga Świątek press conference on Day 2 of WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Dubai, UAE, Monday, 20th February, 2023.
THE MODERATOR: Iga, would you start us off with your thoughts on the match.
IGA SWIATEK: For sure it was a really solid performance. I’m happy I could play so well because it’s the first match here and I didn’t really have time to adjust to the conditions.
I’m just happy that I could put pressure on Leylah, and I kept going, and I didn’t lose my focus throughout all these games.
Yeah, I’m happy about it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. A bunch of the players were saying because the balls are different here this year, and they resurfaced as well, it’s easier to control, and slower. Is that true?
IGA SWIATEK: For sure it is. Australian Open balls are much easier to control. I think it’s smart that they changed it because I wouldn’t, like, imagine doing that transition between Doha and here and playing well in both tournaments is impossible.
Right now it actually for me makes sense we’re playing the whole swing with the Australian Open balls. I think it should be like that from the beginning. I guess it was like a deal or business kind of stuff.
But also I think the courts are resurfaced every year, aren’t they here?
Q. Not here. It’s been a couple years.
IGA SWIATEK: For sure right now I feel more comfortable. I think we’re more used to going on-site and having new courts, so I think it’s better.
Q. Sabalenka said it seems impossible for her to get to No. 1 because of how well you’re doing, but she wants to prove the impossible is possible. Is it exciting for you to have that kind of someone putting the challenge up to you? How do you see that?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, honestly, each of us have different goals. For me, like, I’m not really looking for what other players are doing. I know there’s also Ons, many players, that are kind of capable of winning tournaments, getting more and more points.
For sure, Aryna is in a nice position after Australian Open. I’m really just focusing on myself. I don’t care really.
Q. What are your goals for the year?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, they’re not really based on results. It’s more about how I want to approach the tournaments mentally, my attitude, and developing as a player because I feel I have many things to improve on court. Sometimes it’s not going to be visible by results or the way I play. I think I can have more options on court. These are my goals.
Q. What are your thoughts on Leylah?
IGA SWIATEK: Leylah, we played two or three matches already, some practices. I know she can play great tennis. We had three tight games, tight situations today. It was much tougher than the score says. She’s a lefty and she’s using that. You also have to adjust to that.
But she’s a really talented player. I am pretty sure that in the future she’s going to win many tournaments.
Q. You already have a lot of experience with finishing a tournament, winning it, turning around and playing another one. At the moment is it second nature to arrive late after a final knowing you have to play in a day or two or is there any stress to that?
IGA SWIATEK: Well, for sure I feel like everything is in a rush little bit. That’s, like, not perfectly comfortable. But honestly, after disappointment of semifinal of United Cup where I played after a day of traveling, I really wanted to appreciate yesterday because I got a day to practice here and actually just feel the courts, even if it’s just an hour, it’s a day where you can actually see the site and get to know everything.
Honestly, after United Cup, I feel like this day was kind of enough because in Sydney it was impossible to get ready for the match. So here after that experience I just didn’t look at the bad side, I kind of wanted to use yesterday.
Q. 50 years of WTA tennis. What do you hope to see for the WTA in the next era?
IGA SWIATEK: Hmm…
For sure I would like to see WTA kind of, I don’t know, expanding business-wise, getting more popular, kind of cutting the difference between WTA and ATP in terms of prize money differences, and also attracting fans as well. Our tennis bring the same emotions as men’s tennis, so I think there is something you can find in women’s tennis that you’re not going to find on the ATP.
Right now, after a couple of years of hearing that we’re not consistent, we are actually consistent. There are many top players who are playing great on most of the tournaments. I think fans can choose their favorite and really cheer for us.
There are many things I would like for the WTA to kind of explore and change. Maybe getting a nice place for the WTA Finals.
Q. What inspired you to become a tennis player?
IGA SWIATEK: Honestly, when I was really, really young, it’s not like I saw a tennis match and there it was. More like my dad showed me tennis, and my sister also played. I would say it was more like people inspired me. My dad for sure was the person that kind of wanted me to play and do sports. Tennis was the sport that I just felt more comfortable at.
Year by year it kind of developed into a passion, then worked a little bit. So, yeah.
Q. What is the greatest influence to you and why?
IGA SWIATEK: I would say the most inspirational player for me on tour is Rafa Nadal because he’s never giving up, and he can win matches even though everybody is thinking like he’s going to lose it. He’s always developing. Even though he’s the greatest in the world, he’s always changing something and trying to improve.
Every day I would say my team. These are the people who are great examples for me. They’re, like, specialists at their job. They are the people that are, like, pushing me to do more and motivating me.
It depends. Every day I’m using someone different.
Q. What is your advice to little kids that like to play tennis?
IGA SWIATEK: My advice would be to be patient because in tennis you’re always going to make mistakes and lose matches because it’s impossible to win for such a long time. You have to kind of learn also how to deal with that. You have to learn also how to deal with success later.
But the most important thing in that is to get good people around you who are going to guide you a little bit and who are going to help you because you can play great tennis, you can have talent, but these are the people who are going to kind of in tougher situations be next to you.
At the beginning probably these are going to be your parents. Later maybe a coach or fitness coach or physio or psychologist. Yeah, it’s important to have people around you, even though everybody is saying it’s an individual sport.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports