Good morning and happy wednesday, hoddlers. A quick hoddle for you today as fitzie needs to get his taxes done.
Ashleigh Barty shocked the tennis world last month when she announced her retirement from the sport at age 25. Sitting at No. 1 in the world and three Grand Slam titles to her name, it appeared she was just beginning a dominant reign.
And so women’s tennis now must fill the vacuum left by Barty. With her now being removed from the rankings altogether, the sport has a new World Number One: Iga Swiatek.
Swiatek is the first male or female Polish player to reach number one in the world and has already won six titles at the age of 20 - including the 2019 French Open and last week’s Miami Open.
Here are some other fun facts about Iga Swiatek:
- She’s a huge Rafael Nadal fan: Swiatek has often cited Nadal as one of her sporting heroes because of his playing style and mentality on the court. Even as recently as this year she said she analyses his matches:
“I watched a lot of tennis in the past two years and I’ve seen many comebacks and many times where Rafa, for example, wasn’t playing his best tennis but still he was finding solutions,” she told WTA Insider.
- She’s got great taste in music: Sharing her Pandora playlist with Tennis.com, it’s clear what kind of genre she’s into. It’s filled with The Doors, Etta James, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd and Lana Del Ray.
- She has an all-court playing style: This means she likes to utilise all aspects of the court. Swiatek hits her forehand at a faster rate than the average player on tour, and her backhand is just as deadly because of the loads of topspin. But she still has a tonne of variety for a player this aggressive.
Take a look at this drop shot, which was crowned 2019 Shot of the Year:
- She has the game to be a dominant player on the tour for a long time: We already know she’s good enough to be the best in the world and continue to win majors, but it’s her focus on the mental side of the game that also sets Swiatek apart from her opponents.
Swiatek is off to a flying start this year too. She was a semifinalist at the Australian Open and won the rare back-to-back swing of the prestigious Indian Wells and Miami tournaments. She hasn’t even begun playing on clay, her best surface.
Swiatek will have her rivals - Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Aryna Sabalenka, Naomi Osaka - but she’s dispatched them all in the past 12 months. It’ll be fascinating to see how the Polish phenom will perform now with all the pressure on her shoulders.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Stormy Weather, by Etta James
And now for your links:
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Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to back women’s side after they secure promotion to WSL
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EFL Championship: Sheffield United beat sinking QPR to move back into top six