Iga Swiatek wins tournament in Stuttgart and car
WNo matter how large a women’s tennis tournament is being held during these weeks, the images are the same everywhere in the end. It’s always the same young woman who wins the last point, then clenches her right hand and stretches it in the direction of her coach, wipes her mouth with the sweatband on her wrist and rushes to the net to receive the congratulations of her defeated colleague , followed by funny jumps in front of the audience.
This young woman, whose cheering becomes a routine ritual, is Iga Swiatek, entering her fourth week as the world number one. That she is a worthy successor to the Australian who suddenly resigned Ashleigh Barty developed, seems settled. The question that is more urgent in the tennis circus: who on earth is going to stop Swiatek’s triumphant advance? “In our sport, anyone can beat anyone,” claims the Pole. That’s true for the time being for the players from world number two down.
Aryna Sabalenka tried it twice last time. At the end of February in Doha, the fourth in the world rankings was hopelessly overwhelmed. On Sunday in the final of the WTA tournament in Stuttgart, she was better prepared for Swiatek’s aggressive basic strokes, but Sabalenka lost even more clearly with 2:6, 2:6 due to many mistakes. The Pole thus won the title and sports car on her first participation in Stuttgart.
At the same time she celebrated her fourth tournament victory in a row, after previously in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami. In all four finals combined, she lost just 15 games – others do not even manage that in a single three-set match. “My head used to be full of emotions, now I find solutions,” says Iga Swiatek. Her psychologist Daria Abramowicz has worked hard on her winning streak.
The twenty-year-old has now won 23 matches in a row, only the Williams sisters Serena and Venus have managed something like this at an even younger age. In a modification of Gary Linekers Football saying is the motto of the hour: Women’s tennis is a simple game: Two women chase a felt ball for two or three sets, and in the end Iga Swiatek always wins. “She definitely still has a lot ahead of her,” said Angelique Kerber, who lost to the Pole in Indian Wells in mid-March.
Parts of the tennis world breathed a sigh of relief
It was a little surprising how confident Iga Swiatek performed at lunchtime on Sunday. The night before she had successfully completed three hard-fought sets against Liudmila Samsonowa. The three-hour match full of playful ups and downs and dramaturgical twists and turns seemed to her “like a marathon,” said Swiatek after the 6: 7, 6: 4 and 7: 5 victory. After the final, which was only half as long, the world number one thanked her physio for “keeping her alive”.
Parts of the tennis world also breathed a sigh of relief. They were glad that the Polish favorite, wearing a pin in the colors of Ukraine on her cap, won the tournament and not the Belarusian Sabalenka. Otherwise, Stuttgart would have delivered the images that Wimbledon fears – namely a winner from a country that is at war with Ukraine. On Saturday, a Russian-Belarusian final between Samsonova and Sabalenka was in the air for a while. Swiatek avoided this perceived impertinence with a tour de force.
Unlike Wimbledon, Russians and Belarusians are allowed to continue playing on the normal professional tour. But don’t expect much affection. When the Stuttgart audience applauded Aryna Sabalenka appropriately friendly at the award ceremony, the Belarusian couldn’t resist a point: “You could have cheered me on during the match.” Instead, she had to listen to “Iga” chants.
The fact that Sabalenka struggles as a citizen of a warlike power has already been shown in the days before. When the almost twenty-four-year-old was asked about the Wimbledon exclusion, she was visibly uncomfortable despite the words she chose. the WTA as a professional organization reacted to this and took the Belarusian out of the public eye. Aryna Sabalenka no longer has to give press conferences for the time being, the WTA sends assessments of the game to journalists as audio files on request: no further questions.