(Reuters) – Iga Swiatek is going for a third straight Qatar Open title this week but the world number one said she is not coming into the tournament with the mindset of a double defending champion as this year’s event is a “totally different story”.
The four-times Grand Slam champion, who is once again the favourite to lift the trophy in Doha, told reporters on Sunday previous editions of the tournament had no impact on this one.
“I learned from last year that there is no point on focusing on defending anything, so it’s a totally different chapter and totally different story,” said Swiatek ahead of her opening match against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.
“I’m going to take it step by step and not really think about what happened last year or two years ago, because we are all at different points in our lives.
“It would be nice if I could play well here, but I already learned that you can’t expect a lot in tennis because it’s going to surprise you.”
Swiatek, who held on to the world number one ranking despite Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka’s victory at last month’s Australian Open, said she was still getting used to the pressures that come with being the top-ranked player on the WTA Tour.
“I feel like because I’m at the top of the WTA I should have some standards,” the 22-year-old said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit harder to kind of take it easy, because you feel like everybody is chasing you.
“There is some stuff that’s changed because of the position that you’re at, but on the other hand, I always try to remind myself that I’m still the same person no matter what my ranking is and no matter what the number next to my name is.”
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Brought to you by www.srnnews.com