‘I was expecting much more’: Conquered No.1 Swiatek muses on Aus Open flame-out
January 21, 2024
Iga Świątek came into the 2024 Australian Open as the top women’s seed and all the expectations that come with that on her shoulders. Now, at the end of the first week of the year’s opening Major, she is trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
The world No. 1 had a simple answer after her shock third-round defeat: she got away from her own game.
“I felt like I had everything under control,” she told media after the 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 loss to 19-year-old Linda Noskova. “I had a couple of chances to break her in second set and I didn’t use them. So that’s a shame. But when she broke me, she was kind of proactive. I wanted to do that as well later in the next games. Sometimes, I was rushing it. I just wasn’t playing kind of with my intuition and naturally. I guess I’ll have to work on stuff to feel more comfortable next year.”
Poland’s top-ranked player seemed to be on cruise control early in the Aus Open’s third round, springing out to an early lead after taking the first set 6-3. Her opponent, Czech Republic starlet Noskova, had other plans, serving her way to a comeback victory over Świątek to earn the biggest scalp of her career thus far on Rod Laver Arena.
The upset win marks the first time the No. 50 has made it past a slam’s second round.
“I think she just went all in without any pressure,” Swiatek continued. “She probably knew she has nothing to lose, you know? Maybe I should have done that when I had break points in previous games, but I wanted to kind of be the solid version of myself.”
This surprise early exit will do little to dampen the preparation Świątek—herself still just 22—and her coaching team have been slowly putting together for the 2024 season though, she added.
“Last year I felt much more off balance. I felt like the whole season may be tough just because of the start,” Swiatek said. “Last year I felt like I was just overwhelmed with beginning the year as world number one. It kind of took me off my balance. This year I feel like I just want to get back to work. I know I’m going to have plenty of chances during the season to show my game.”
“I was expecting much more,” the Polish superstar then admitted, though there is an easy path forward for her now: “I’ll have to work on stuff to feel more comfortable next year.”