The Polish professional tennis player, Iga Świątek, was left in tears at the sudden retirement of Ash Barty.
After winning the third grand slam at January’s Australian Open, Ash Barty stunned everyone by quitting the sport last month.
Iga, the Polish player told BBC Sport, “I was crying for 40 minutes.”
Iga Świątek’s heartfelt reaction to Ash Barty’s sudden retirement
While Ash Barty’s retirement shocked many, it made way for Iga as the No.1 world ranking player.
However, Iga also said, “mainly, it was because of Ash’s retirement. I didn’t know it was going to happen and it really surprised me.”
“I always had this vision that we would all play until we are 35 or something, until our bodies are so tired that we can’t anymore.”
“I needed time to actually understand what she must have thought. Her decision was really brave and I felt a lot of emotions because of that.”
She told BBC, “I also felt emotional because of my own position.”
Iga also said, “I feel privileged to be among those players who have done this double before, I knew it would be tough playing these tournaments in a row but I took it step by step.”
“I was in the zone in the second set — that’s the easiest way for me to be dominant. I was surprised I could handle all these matches.”
“I am still the same person though. My idols were like that and I don’t want the success to change me in a negative way. It gives me confidence.”
She further added, “I realized after two hours of being really emotional that, ‘hey, you don’t know what is going to happen yet and you still have to win some matches.’
“So I told myself, ‘let’s wait with the emotions and with being excited because I have work to do.’”
Iga Świątek’s rise
Iga, 20, recently completed the “Sunshine Double,” where she won the high-profile Indian Wells and Miami tournaments.
Furthermore, she defeated four-time major winner and former world No.1 Naomi Osaka in straight sets in the final.
As Ash Barty decides to leave the field, Iga stands next in line to follow her legacy. As the world No.1, Iga has new challenges to overcome.