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  • Club: Indomitable Iga Swiatek Enters Esteemed Company Ahead Of Madrid Open

100 club: Indomitable Iga Swiatek enters esteemed company ahead of Madrid Open

Iga Swiatek arrives in Madrid celebrating her 100th week as the world No.1, a milestone only achieved by eight other women in tour history.

The four-time Grand Slam champion first took over the top spot in April 2022 when Ashleigh Barty retired from tennis and has remained at the summit ever since, except for an eight-week period last season when Aryna Sabalenka replaced her.

"Honestly it's hard for me to get a grasp of it because it happened so fast," Swiatek said of joining the 100 club.

"It's pretty crazy. I never expected to be in that position. Actually, staying at the top of the game for so long is something that really makes me proud. I think we made some tough decisions sometimes. I have good people that are guiding me and helping me so for sure I wouldn't be here if I would do it by myself and I'm really grateful that everything led to that.

"As you know, especially last year, getting back to No.1 was a big deal and it happened in an unpredictable way, so I'm just proud of myself that I could cope with all the pressure that comes with that. But overall it's kind of fun."

A runner-up in Madrid last year, Swiatek will commence her campaign against Chinese lefty Wang Xiyu.

The three-time Roland Garros winner began her clay season with a semi-final appearance in Stuttgart last week, where she fell to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in three sets.

Swiatek has lost a mere total of 10 matches at tour level on clay throughout her career and is 39-4 on the red dirt since the start of 2022.

She isn't too fazed by her defeat to Rybakina though, assuring she never takes her victories for granted, be it on clay or any other surface.

"Well it puts you back on the ground but on the other hand I never felt like I am taking these tournaments for granted because still, you know, I lost here last year and I lost in Rome," said Swiatek.

"We're competing really against the best players in the world so it's not like you're going to win every tournament. Even though it is my favourite surface, it doesn't mean that my tennis is going to be perfect."

As Madrid welcomes the best players in the world for its two-week tennis extravaganza, the sport bids farewell to a future Hall-of-Famer in Garbine Muguruza, who announced she is officially hanging up her racquet on the eve of the tournament.

Swiatek has been a long-time fan of the Spanish former world No.1 and took time to pay tribute to Muguruza during her press conference on Tuesday.

"When I was younger I was looking at her achievements when she won Roland Garros and Wimbledon, I was thinking maybe she's going to be my favourite WTA player. Because I always liked Rafa (Nadal), but I never really had anybody on the WTA to follow," revealed Swiatek.

"Garbine was actually one of them for a while and then I started playing on tour so it was pretty weird to be fangirling about anybody.

"She's a great player and a nice person."

Many players have hailed Muguruza's multi-surface prowess, and Swiatek hopes she can one day match the Spaniard and add the Wimbledon title to her resume, to go with her three French Opens and one US Open crown already collected.

"I'm still trying to understand tennis on grass so hopefully I'll also be able to do it one day and maybe Garbine can help me a little bit with that, I'll ask her," the 22-year-old said with a smile.

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