The message world No.1 wants to send Barty

    Swiatek, who admitted to crying for more than half an hour on learning of Barty’s retirement earlier this year, said she had mixed feelings on learning of the Aussie’s shock call.“When Ash retired, I felt like mixed emotions because I felt like she still has the best tennis out there,” Swiatek said in Brisbane at a media event with her Poland teammates ahead of their United Cup campaign start on Thursday.“Hopefully maybe this week we are going to be able to meet and I’m going to say it straight to her, but she really inspired me to work harder.“Her different game style made me realise that there is always room for improvement.“Even right now I feel like there is a lot I can change and improve and I’m pretty excited that even when I had such a nice season this year I can do some different stuff.”Swiatek essentially inherited the No.1 ranking after Barty’s retirement in March and while the Aussie hailed the depth in the women’s game at the time, she could not have predicted the run the Pole was about to go on.Swiatek made nine finals, snaring eight titles including the French Open and US Open this year, including an unbeaten streak of 37 matches between February and July to show she more than deserves to be on top of the world.And while she is proud of her record, she conceded that ascending to No.1 due to Barty’s retirement left her feeling she needed to prove herself.“At first I felt like I wasn’t sure if this is my place to be, you know,” Swiatek said.“Ash, she seemed like a huge role model for everybody in terms of her behaviour on court but also off court. “So I felt like she really … how’s it called … she really set the bar pretty high, so I need to show it to people but also show it to myself that I’m in the right place.”The woman Barty called an “exceptional human” holds a massive rankings lead over world No.2, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, but is focused on improving again to stay at the top.“At the beginning of (next) year, I’m going to try to kind of cut off everything that happened last year and just focus on the future because I feel like I can take a lot of experience from these tournaments last year, but I don’t want to really hold on to that too much, because I want to go forward and kind of focus on my next goals,” she said.“My goal is to just focus on the future and try to improve as a tennis player.”

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