Why San Diego was an irresistible draw for No.1 Swiatek

Why San Diego was an irresistible draw for No.1 Swiatek

SAN DIEGO — World No.1 Iga Swiatek would have been forgiven if she opted out of this week’s San Diego Open. The 21-year-old put in a grueling and emotional effort at the AGEL Open in Ostrava last weekend to make her tour-leading eighth final of the season, narrowly losing out to form No.2 Barbora Krejcikova.

But withdrawing from San Diego never crossed Swiatek’s mind.

“Even though I played two really long matches there I feel pretty fine physically,” Swiatek told reporters Thursday in San Diego, where she is set to play her opening match. “The thing is that right now I feel more fresh because I had more time off after the US Open. So going into Ostrava I knew I could give everything and go all in.”

“It’s not that bad. It’s the ‘nice’ jet lag, coming this way.”

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San Diego will be Swiatek’s last regular-season tournament. She will stay in the United States after the tournament to practice and train for the WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, which begins Oct. 31.

“It makes sense because I just have to have more matches before the WTA Finals,” Swiatek said. “It would be pretty bad if I would have three weeks without matches because I would be a little bit not in the rhythm.

“So it makes sense to be here for sure. I really wanted to play because of the city and I heard so many positive things about the tournament that I wanted to come.”

“I’m even more fresh because winning keeps me really positive. I don’t waste my energy and time coming back to this positive mindset.”

Swiatek took her tour-leading tally to 60 match-wins in Ostrava, becoming the first player to cross the 60-match mark since 2017. With seven titles under her belt, including Roland Garros and the US Open, he would be understandable if the World No.1 was feeling the wear and tear of her season.

Not so.

“Honestly, I feel great and that’s weird because I thought after so many matches I was going to feel a lack of motivation, or I thought that if you’re winning too much you’re not going to have another goal to reach,” Swiatek said.

“But honestly, it’s the opposite. I’m even more fresh because winning keeps me really positive. I don’t waste my energy and time coming back to this positive mindset. I feel like I can be in the rhythm and do my job we court and play. I feel really good.”

Being self-motivated has meant eschewing the need for explicit goals to stay motivated. Swiatek does not need a carrot to chase. Her motivation comes purely from within. The result is a fresh mind and body as she finishes out the season.

“Right now I don’t even feel like I need goals because I just really enjoy being on court and competing,” Swiatek said. “So I’m just doing that. I’m not overanalyzing. I think that’s pretty cool because last year I was analyzing everything and it made me really nervous before the WTA Finals. So this time I’m doing it a little bit differently .

“Right now I still find it pretty weird that I won the US Open and sometimes it just hits me out of nowhere and I’m like, that’s cool.”

Swiatek will open her tournament against No.28 Zheng Qinwen on Thursday.

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