World No.1 Iga Swiatek said Saturday she was ready for an “intense” opening Australian Open match while paying tribute to retired champion Ashleigh Barty for inspiring her to greater heights.
Poland’s Swiatek begins her Grand Slam campaign on Monday against Jule Neimeier, the German World No.68, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year.
More recently, the pair clashed in the last 16 at the US Open, where Swiatek had to dig deep after dropping the first set before coming through 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 and going on to win the tournament. “We played in the US Open, and you saw how intense that match was, how tough,” Swiatek told reporters.
“It’s not going to be easy. But any match in a Grand Slam is always more intense and more stressful than other tournaments. I’ll be ready for it.” Swiatek, the top seed, is a strong favourite for the first Grand Slam of the year in the absence of last year’s retired champion Barty.
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