No. 1 Swiatek: I’m not always ‘100% motivated’

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Iga Swiatek’s body of work in 2022 speaks for itself.

She’s been No. 1 in the rankings since April. She owns a tour-leading eight titles, including two at Grand Slam tournaments. She’s collected a year’s-best 64 victories heading into the WTA Finals that begin Monday, including a 37-match unbeaten run from February to June that was the longest in women’s tennis in a quarter-century.

Just imagine if she was always fully motivated.

When asked how she stays motivated, the 21-year-old Swiatek offered a surprising answer: She doesn’t, necessarily.

“I feel like I also accepted that I don’t have to feel … always 100% motivated. Sometimes, especially after Grand Slams, when you are playing these smaller tournaments, you feel the energy level is a little bit lower,” Swiatek said. “But on the other hand, when I’m going on court, it’s still the same, and I always want to win. I’m basing my motivation on that.”

She summed it up this way: “It’s OK, sometimes, to not be so pumped, you know?”

Swiatek owns a winning record against all of the other members of the eight-player WTA Finals field except Maria Sakkari, a two-time major semifinalist who is 3-2 head-to-head.

“She has been playing some great tennis this year, and she has changed a lot of things mentally and tennis-wise,” Sakkari said. “There’s a lot of respect from my side to her side. I know it’s the same from her side to my side. So it’s very exciting to have someone that young that actually does all these great things for the sport. But she’s a human being. She’s like everyone else in this room.”


But no one else on tour has come even close to consistently solving Swiatek’s mix of big topspin forehand, variety and ability to change tactics mid-match.

No one came within 15 match wins of Swiatek’s total.

No one else has won more than three WTA titles this season.

Swiatek is also the first woman since 2016 to win two Grand Slam trophies in one year.

“Yeah, she’s a challenge,” said Caroline Garcia, who is in the same round-robin group as Swiatek. “WTA Finals is a challenge, but she’s a challenge just by herself.”

Unlike other tournaments, there is no chance to ease into things at the WTA Finals. Every opponent is among the elite. It just so happens that Swiatek is the elite of the elite.

Even so, she looks at this as a relatively new experience. Swiatek made her debut in the event last year, when she was eliminated in the group stage.

“For sure, you have to be ready from the beginning,” Swiatek said. “I want to see how it’s going to go for me because, still, I feel like I’m learning.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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