Iga Swiatek says she won’t always ‘play perfectly’ ahead of Qatar Open title defence

Iga Swiatek has admitted she has had to adjust her expectations and accept she won’t “play perfectly all the time”.

The Polish star soared to the top of the tennis world in 2022, winning both the French and US Open titles as well as going on a remarkable 37-match winning streak.

Ahead of the Qatar Open, has spent 45 weeks as world No. 1 and heads to Doha as the defending champion.

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However, despite her status, the 21-year-old has already showed she isn’t infallible, exiting the Australian Open earlier this year at the fourth round stage to Elena Rybakina.

Swiatek says she has been able to refocus as a result.

“I really wanted to focus on getting my expectations lower and not expect from myself that I’m going to play perfectly all the time,” Swiatek said.

“Last season was so strange that it can mess with your head a little bit. I wanted to get both feet on the ground, focus on hard work and what I have to do on court.

“I was really happy because we did, I’d say it was like the last part of pre-season. Our practice was intense and the volume was big. I feel I could really focus on the technical stuff and just improve as a player.”

Swiatek’s 2022 successes also included title wins at Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, Rome and San Diego, as well as in Qatar.

Last time out, she defeated Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the final, but is taking nothing for granted this year in Doha.

“I want to start this tournament as any other player, and we all do that and start from the same spot,” Swiatek said.

“There’s so many matches to win, so many obstacles to overcome that I want to be focused just on the next step.”

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