Swiatek: Rib OK but rust may loom at Stuttgart

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Iga Swiatek said she has recovered from a rib injury and is ready to defend her Stuttgart Open title, though the world No. 1 concedes she may be a bit rusty following a monthlong absence.

The Pole, who is also gearing up for the start of her French Open title defense next month, withdrew ahead of the Miami Open and Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers due to the injury she suffered during her run to the Indian Wells semis last month.

“I’m not injured anymore, so that’s the most important thing for me,” the 21-year-old told reporters on Tuesday. “I feel like I used that time in Warsaw well to rest a little bit and to not think about tennis.

“I have still been working out physically a little bit and obviously coming back to practicing step by step. Here I am and I think I’m ready.”

The three-time Grand Slam champion will begin her campaign at the WTA 500 clay-court event against China’s Qinwen Zheng in the last 16 after receiving a bye in the first round.

“It’s the first tournament on clay, so for sure I would love to play well, but I also know that I might be a little bit rusty because coming back from injury it’s always a little bit like that,” Swiatek said.

“So I’m keeping my expectations low, but for sure I want to play the best tennis possible.”

When asked about the WTA’s decision to end its China boycott over concerns about Peng Shuai, Swiatek said: “I just trust that the WTA is making right decision.

“I hope that we, as players, can be safe no matter what country we are from,” Swiatek said.

“I don’t have any kind of emotional influence because I have never even been to China. It’s hard for me to say anything, but I just hope that WTA is strategically making a good choice.”

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