Martina Navratilova recently claimed that the rest of the WTA tour is getting more confident about beating Iga Swiatek after seeing the likes of Elena Rybakina and Barbora Krejcikova beat the Polish star. Navratilova, a former World No. 1, feels that Swiatek will face a serious challenge for the rest of the season.
Swiatek, who seemed unbeatable for the majority of last season, has lost four matches already this season, and to three different players. She lost to Jessica Pegula at the United Cup, Barbora Krejcikova in the Dubai Tennis Championships final, and twice to Elena Rybakina – at the Australian Open, and most recently at Indian Wells.
Navratilova hailed Swiatek for earning the top spot in the world rankings after first clinching it through Ashleigh Barty’s retirement, and for being a ‘true champion’ throughout last season. However, she then added that Swiatek’s 2023 season has not been ideal so far given the high standards she has set.
“The way Swiatek imposed herself on the game, there was a clear No. 1,” Martina Navratilova said in a recent segment for Tennis Channel. “We got a true champion here, not just somebody that got there by default because Iga really earned that position.””But she’s had a few hiccups this year, and it maybe hasn’t gone as well as she would’ve liked,” the American great added.
According to Navratilova, Swiatek will now face players with the belief that they can beat her, given that they have seen the performances of Rybakina, Krejcikova, and Pegula.
The players feel that. It’s that locker room confidence they get when they see other players beating Iga or giving her trouble, they think, ‘Why not me?’ So now it’s going to be difficult for her,” the 66-year-old opined.
After her semifinal loss to Rybakina at Indian Wells, Iga Swiatek withdrew from the Miami Open due to a rib injury. The 21-year-old is, however, expected to be fit in time for the start of the clay-court season.