Aryna Sabalenka has great advice for the rest of the WTA about Iga Swiatek

Swiatek is destroying French Open opponents after her close first-round victory, but Sabalenka has some advice about Swiatek.
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek / Robert Prange/GettyImages

Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek are two of the best players on the WTA tour. For much of the last two years, Swiatek has been ranked No. 1 and Sabalenka No. 2. For a short time in 2023, Sabalenka passed Swiatek in the rankings, but now Swiatek is well clear of the rest of the field. Sabalenka understands that to defeat Swiatek in the rankings, neither the Belarusian nor anyone else in women's tennis needs to replicate the exact results as the Pole.

This means Sabalenka and Coco Gauff, the player currently battling Sabalenka for WTA No. 2, do not need to try to match Swiatek's fourth-round victory over Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-0. Gauff and Sabalenka need to keep winning their matches no matter the score. Once they have a chance to defeat Swiatek had-to-head, they should take it.

Speaking to the media at the French Open in a press conference, Sabalenka also threw some sorry, not sorry, shade at Swiatek for defeating an opponent without dropping a game. Of course, to be fair to the Pole, the players are on the court to win their matches in any way possible. If this means making an opponent look as if they have no business playing professional tennis, that is the opponent's fault, not the winner's, right?

Aryna Sabalenka has some solid advice for the rest of the WTA in regards to Iga Swiatek

According to Sabalenka, "I was stopping myself of thinking to try to do the same (of blanking an opponent), because you can get really crazy with that. I was, like, OK, no, Aryna. Just focus on yourself. You don't have to do better than (Swiatek)...That's just her world like these bagels. This is something about lga. Just leave it for her. I will be nicer to my opponent."

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Sabalenka might have been implying that she would let an opponent win at least one game in a match, but what happens if the opponent suddenly gets some confidence and reels off a game or three? That might make Sabalenka think that she should have just kept applying ruthless pressure. Possibly what separates Swiatek from the rest of the WTA is that the Pole can be brutally efficient.

No matter what happens at the French Open, the real battle for a ranking spot atop the WTA is for No. 2. Swiatek is more than 3,000 points clear of the field. Gauff could overtake Sabalenka if Gauff has the better showing at Roland Garros. The battle for No. 2 is going to last into the summer, though.

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