Melbourne: World No 1 Iga Swiatek hopes the emerging “Big Three” of women’s tennis that includes herself, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina can maintain their form for years, saying on Thursday that it was too tough to predict who will dominate in 2024.
Since the retirement of former world No 1 Ash Barty in March 2022, the trio have won five of the last seven Grand Slam titles with Swiatek claiming three - including two French Open titles - and Rybakina and Sabalenka one apiece.
Their fierce rivalry during much of last season sparked comparisons with the men’s triumvirate of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic and Swiatek said she was unsure who would go on to build on their success.
“It’s too hard to predict. In the past (few) years there has always been one player who suddenly had a breakthrough and won a Grand Slam or was in the top five,” said Swiatek, who is warming up for next month’s Australian Open by playing in the United Cup mixed team tournament that starts on Friday.
“Obviously I think these three players, I feel like we’re more consistent than the others. I hope we’re going to kind of save that consistency for the next seasons but I have no idea who is going to stand out.
“Ons Jabeur is also a really consistent player when she’s not injured. It all depends on their preparation. The season can go in different ways, as well, in terms of injuries.” Swiatek will be heavily backed to add an Olympic title to her trophy cabinet in Paris next year with the tennis tournament set to be held on the red clay of Roland Garros.
“This time is going to be a little bit different,” said Swiatek, who was left in tears after a second-round loss to Paula Badosa at the Tokyo Games two years ago.
“I’m going to know the venue. It’s going to be on my favourite surface. On the other hand, these also bring up more expectations from the outside.
“I guess I’ll have to do the same kind of work I do at every other tournament. I’m not going to lie to myself that it’s going to be easy or the same because it’ll be different.”