Ousted Swiatek 'felt the pressure' at Open

By Anna Harrington
Updated January 22 2023 - 5:13pm, first published 5:08pm
Poland's Iga Swiatek says the pressure got too much during her Australian Open fourth-round loss. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)
Poland's Iga Swiatek says the pressure got too much during her Australian Open fourth-round loss. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

World No.1 Iga Swiatek has attributed her shock straight-sets fourth-round Australian Open exit to her failure to deal with the pressure as she chased a breakthrough Melbourne Park title as the hot favourite.

Swiatek was rolled 6-4 6-4 by Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

The 21-year-old lamented her approach in Melbourne after her bid for a fourth major came to an abrupt halt.

"I need to work on my mindset and fight a little bit more as I did last season so for sure I'm going to take time right now to reset," Swiatek told reporters.

"For sure the past two weeks have been pretty hard. Today I felt like I didn't have that much to take from myself to fight even more.

"I felt like I took a step back in terms of how I approached this tournament and I maybe wanted it a little bit too hard, so I'm going to try and chill out a little bit more, that's all.

"I felt the pressure and felt that I don't want to lose instead of that I want to win.

"That's the base of what I should focus on the next couple of weeks."

Swiatek was adamant entering Melbourne as world No.1 didn't affect her but said her build-up to the loss hadn't been ideal, despite winning her first three rounds in straight sets.

The 21-year-old was reduced to tears after a straight-sets loss to world No.3 Jessica Pegula at the United Cup.

"I just wasted too much energy before the tournament and during the first days of the tournament to worry," Swiatek said.

The Polish star remains untouchable in the rankings after her standout 2022, when she claimed the French and US Opens among eight titles and went on a 37-match winning streak.

Swiatek didn't expect to be haunted by Sunday's loss.

"I'll be able to move past it and also learn from it," she said.

"Usually if my whole experience at the tournament was tougher and then it comes to an end, I'm able actually to not focus on the fact that I lost the match but about the overall performance and what's going on with me.

"This time I think it's going to be motivating for me and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to play next tournament with something to focus on and something to work on and I think I'm going to go forwards.

"It's OK. I'll get more time to reset and it doesn't matter for me if it was a semi-final, a fourth round, or a final or whatever. I just want to move forward."

Australian Associated Press