Australian Open: 'People treat you like a robot who has to win', says Swiatek

By Sports Desk January 16, 2023

Iga Swiatek believes people sometimes treat her like a "robot who has to win all the time" and are focused too much on "numbers and statistics."

Swiatek came through her first-round match at the Australian Open on Monday as she beat Jule Niemeier 6-4 7-5, though she trailed 5-3 in the second set before winning four-straight games.

The world number one will face Camila Osorio in the second round on Wednesday, and admitted she had needed to find another gear to overcome her German opponent.

"I knew that I could get my focus up a little bit, [increase] the intensity a little bit more. So I did that," she said.

"But my goal for my next matches is not being in those situations and not starting the set with losing a break, but it happens. I'm happy that I was able to come back. It wasn't like I needed to really change a lot. I just needed to have more intensity."

After an impressive 2022 season, that saw her win the French Open and US Open, expectations have risen around Swiatek, which the 21-year-old has noticed.

"For sure, I feel like people are really focused on the numbers and on the statistics," she said. "I feel like they're looking at those matches not seeing that we are still people, and we have to really fight for it. 

"I know that I also put a lot of expectations on myself, but I'm working on that. It just feels like sometimes they're not treating you still as a human, but more like a robot who has to win."

Swiatek has now won the first round in a grand slam tournament in 15 of her previous 16 appearances, but admitted she only developed confidence in playing on hard courts last year.

"At the beginning of last year I didn't have that much confidence that I can also win big titles on hard court because all of them basically happened last season," she said.

"Also before I think the media kind of described me as a clay court player. Maybe that got into me a little bit. But, yeah, for sure working with [coach] Tomasz [Wiktorowski], I just felt like I can be more aggressive on hard court. I don't have to be the baseline player. I really used that in my matches, then the results kind of showed me that I'm going right direction."

Related items

  • What’s next for new world number 27 Katie Boulter after San Diego Open success? What’s next for new world number 27 Katie Boulter after San Diego Open success?

    Katie Boulter has stormed into the top 30 of the WTA rankings for the first time after she claimed San Diego Open success.

    British number one Boulter recovered from a set down to beat Marta Kostyuk 5-7 6-2 6-2 to clinch a maiden WTA 500 title.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the rise of the new world number 27 and what is next.

    Always destined for stardom?

    Boulter has been a prominent name in British tennis circles since her teenage years and followed in the footsteps of her mother Susan by picking up a racket to represent her nation at junior level. A breakthrough Wimbledon in 2018 – where she tested Naomi Osaka – appeared the catalyst for the tall right-hander to kick on in her development after she reached 82 in the world, but a serious back injury a year later curtailed her progress.

    Road to recovery

    The spinal stress fracture in Boulter’s back forced her to miss the majority of 2019 and when she was finally fit again, the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into lockdown. After the tennis season did resume, minor injuries halted the momentum of Boulter, who won a low-level ITF event in Grenoble at the start of 2022 before a leg issue saw her sit out the clay-court season.

    Second Wimbledon breakthrough

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Katie Boulter (@katiecboulter)

     

    Boulter recovered in time to achieve a grand-slam best result with a run to the Wimbledon third round after victory over former world number one Karolina Pliskova. The next big challenge was to improve the robustness of her body after she built a strong team around her, which included coach Biljana Veselinovic and she kicked off 2023 with a number of fine displays in ITF tournaments. She beat compatriot Jodie Burrage to seal Canberra success before she made another two finals in Japan in May.

    Maiden WTA title

    The 2023 grass-court season started with Boulter making the last four at the Surbiton Trophy before she beat a string of compatriots to seal Nottingham Open success for her first victory at WTA 250 level. It was followed by third-round showings at both Wimbledon and the US Open to cap off an excellent year. The 27-year-old’s new-found confidence was on display for Great Britain at the United Cup in December where she got the better of top-five player Jessica Pegula before going all the way in San Diego.

    Can she surprise at Indian Wells?

    There will be little time for Boulter to celebrate the biggest victory of her career or the Mexican Open success of boyfriend Alex De Minaur, with both set to play in the women’s and men’s editions of the WTA 1000 tournament BNP Paribas Open, which starts this week. British number one Boulter enters after beating five top-50 opponents in San Diego to take her season record to 11 wins in 14 matches. A key feature of her form has been the Briton’s composure in crunch moments after she recovered from a number of first-set double-faults to beat Kostyuk and she will fancy her chances of causing a splash in Indian Wells with her booming forehand a match for anyone right now.

  • Katie Boulter thanks boyfriend Alex de Minaur after dash to watch San Diego win Katie Boulter thanks boyfriend Alex de Minaur after dash to watch San Diego win

    British number one Katie Boulter thanked boyfriend Alex de Minaur for racing over to California to watch her win a first WTA 500 tournament after his own success at the Mexican Open.

    The 27-year-old came from behind to claim the San Diego Open title with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and earn a second career title.

    Boulter’s victory was watched by De Minaur, who defended his Mexican Open title in Acapulco on Saturday before scheduling an early-morning flight to support her on Sunday.

    “I want to say a small special thank you to my boyfriend,” Boulter said post-match.

    “He finished last night at midnight and I really want to embarrass him. He got a 4.15 taxi this morning and six o’clock flight to be here today, so I do appreciate it.”

    After an even start to the match, Kostyuk began to get the better of Boulter and surged into a 5-2 lead.

    Boulter fought back to level at 5-5 but the sixth-seeded Ukrainian regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

    Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

    The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

    Boulter broke again in the seventh game and hit her first two aces of the match in the next to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

    The San Diego win is her second WTA title, adding to a maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer and Boulter reflected on a “special” week in California.

    “This week has been very, very special for so many different reasons,” she said post-match.

    “This one is pretty amazing, I’ve worked very hard for it, I played some incredible tennis all week.

    “Today was a complete battle, with myself as well because I was a little bit nervous. But I managed to get over the line and that I’m very proud of.

    “A lot of it was about me staying as tough as I possibly could mentally and I managed to keep my cool and actually kind of went within myself and calmed myself down a lot.

    “I think that really helped me and then I started to relax and play through shots a little bit more.”

    Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk sees her break into the top 30 for the first time, now ranked 27th.

  • Katie Boulter overcomes Marta Kostyuk in three sets to win San Diego Open Katie Boulter overcomes Marta Kostyuk in three sets to win San Diego Open

    British number one Katie Boulter has claimed her first WTA 500 tournament victory with a 5-7 6-2 6-2 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the final of the San Diego Open.

    The 27-year-old from Leicester was watched by boyfriend Alex De Minaur, who scheduled an early-morning flight after retaining his title in Acapulco.

    After an even start between the two, the sixth seeded Ukrainian began to get the better of Boulter, stringing multiple games together and rapidly closing in on the opening set.

    Boulter fought back to even the set at 5-5, but Kostyuk regained the momentum to wrap up the first set 7-5.

    Boulter then found her groove in the second, dominating on her first serve to clinch the set 6-2 and force a deciding third set.

    The Briton continued her ascendancy into the third, claiming the first break point of the set en route to opening up a 3-1 advantage.

    Boulter broke again in the seventh game and stormed home from there to close out the victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

    Both women picked up their first WTA Tour titles last year in breakout 2023 seasons.

    Boulter claimed her maiden championship on grass in Nottingham last summer, while Kostyuk found victory in Austin.

    Boulter has had a flying start to the 2024 season and the victory over Kostyuk guarantees she will break into the top 30 for the first time.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.