Former world No. 1 Chris Evert says Iga Swiatek would have reached the world No. 1 ranking even if Ashleigh Barty didn't retire.
After winning Indian Wells, Swiatek reached at the time her career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world.
A day after Swiatek rose to the No. 2 in the world, Barty announced she was retiring from tennis at the age of 25.
In her retirement press conference, Barty said she would ask the WTA to remove her name from the WTA rankings.
This Monday, the WTA rankings list got updated for the first time since Barty retired and Swiatek is now the new No. 1.
On Saturday – two days before Swiatek officially became the new No. 1 – she defeated Naomi Osaka in the Miami final to win her 17th match in a row and her third consecutive title.
Evert on what she finds impressive about Swiatek
“I always have thought that to put together seven matches in a Grand Slam was really hard, to be at a high level, but she’s put together 16,” Evert told Eurosport.
“To put together 16 matches in a row with this field with this depth in the women’s game and not having a real dip, not having a let-down, is almost unheard of in the women’s game and that’s what makes her so special and that’s what makes her the number one player in the world.
“I think even if Ashleigh Barty hadn’t retired, Iga would have reached the No 1 spot.
“What impresses me about her is – very much like Alcaraz – is the hunger. I keep going back to hunger but she wants it so bad, she wants it so badly and she’s so committed to the game that she forces herself to be in the moment and she’s in every single point.
“And that mental strength of hers is really propelling her to the top. She’s mentally the toughest player out there by far right now, she’s on another level.”