Iga Swiatek first became popular when she won the 2020 French Open as a teenager. She was unseeded at the tournament and did not drop a set en route to winning her first grand slam title. After winning a major, Swiatek cooled off for quite some time, but after an incredible start to 2022, the drought seems to be over.
Swiatek came into the year with little confidence after not performing well at the majors last year. However, throughout the tournament, she found her rhythm as she made the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Starting in Doha, Swiatek began to play unbelievably well and started a 17-match win streak. Since then, her ranking has been rising with each tournament. Swiatek started the year ranked ninth in the world. Now, after compiling a record of 26–3 on the year, she has reached number one for the first time in her career.
What makes this so significant is not only the personal achievement of becoming world number one at the age of 20 but also that Swiatek is the first tennis player from Poland to ever hold the top spot.
It became official when Ash Barty from Australia surprised everyone when she retired from tennis at the age of 25 earlier this year. Barty had just won the Australian Open and said that she had to step away from the sport because she could not push her body anymore. With Barty’s retirement and being taken out of the ranking system, it meant that Swiatek would automatically become world number one.
Swiatek had just won Indian Wells to send her to number two in the rankings. She had started with a few tight matches at the beginning of the tournament. Ultimately, she found her form and ended in dominant fashion, beating Maria Sakkari 6–4, 6–1 in the final.
Swiatek’s amazing performances continued in Miami. She did not drop a set the whole tournament and destroyed Naomi Osaka 6–4, 6–0 in the final. This was huge for Swiatek because it showed that she truly was the woman to beat and she deserved to be number one in the world.
It has been an incredible year so far for the Polish number one, and she has won all three of the Masters 1000 level events on the women’s tour, becoming the first lady to ever accomplish this. Swiatek will hope firsts like this continue throughout the year as she heads to the clay season, which is her preferred surface.
Sources: WTA Tennis