Iga Swiatek has won praise from tennis fans for supporting rivals Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka and criticizing the WTA over late-night matches.
Prior to starting her campaign at the Cincinnati Open, Swiatek spoke against WTA’s scheduling and highlighted the need for breaks so that players can recover well during an event.
The Pole learned about Elena Rybakina’s delayed semifinal, which ended at 3 am during the Canadian Open, during the pre-tournament press conference. Voicing her concern, Swiatek said:
“For sure, weather is something we can’t really predict, but maybe we should focus more on what is healthy for players because we have to compete every week.”
Swiatek had raised a similar demand earlier this year after the Italian Open.
“Aryna [Sabalenka] played the first day and she honestly said she was exhausted and couldn’t recover from Madrid,” she had said back then. “I requested to play second day but because of my request, I was always scheduled for the second match of the night session. It’s pretty hard to handle it when you have to play in the middle of the night for a couple of weeks.”
Impressed with Swiatek’s stance on the issue, tennis fans took to Twitter to commend her. One user wrote:
“Oh she didn’t hold back on anything. And explicitly sided with both Sabalenka and Rybakina.”
Another fan said Swiatek spoke like an honest No. 1.
“As the true number one she is. Not speaking only when affects her!!! Great Iga!!!,” the fan wrote.
Another user expressed joy over Iga Swiatek’s concern for her competitors, including Rybakina and Sabalenka.
“Drag them Iga. So glad you backed Elena and Aryna. Enough is enough. WTA caring more about money than their players is not acceptable. Calling for changes just in time since they increased the amount of mandatory tournaments,” the user wrote.
Here are a few more reactions:
“I asked the WTA for some data to see if people are watching matches that start past 10 pm, I didn’t get anything” – Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek in action: Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2023
During the same press conference, Iga Swiatek opened up about a conversation she had with the WTA over the late-night matches. Swiatek said she asked the organization to produce some data on the numbers of viewers that watched such matches.
“I understand that we have to adjust to broadcasters and everything, but I also asked the WTA for some data to see if people are watching matches that start past 10 pm. I didn’t get anything, but it would be easier to actually understand that it makes sense to play that late,” she said.
The Pole further argued that as per her understanding, people only watched the opening match of a night session.
“What I hear just from the people around me, they’re always watching the first match of a night session and I don’t actually know if they’re staying to watch the second one,” Iga Swiatek said.