World No. 1 Iga Swiatek slams ‘dangerous’ tennis program
World number 1 Iga Swiatek is the first woman since 2016 to win two major titles in a single season.
Top-ranked Iga Swiatek will not compete in the Billie Jean King Cup and complained on Monday (Tuesday NZT) that the event was scheduled to start immediately after the WTA Finals.
“I am disappointed that [the] tennis governing bodies failed to reach an agreement on something as basic as the tournament schedule, giving us just one day to travel the world and change the time zone,” Swiatek wrote on the social networks.
“This situation is not without danger for our health and could cause injuries.”
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The WTA Finals – which closes the season of the women’s tennis circuit and is reserved for the top eight players in singles and the top eight teams in doubles – take place in Fort Worth, Texas, from October 31 to November 7. The Billie Jean King Cup – a team competition by the International Tennis Federation – will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 8-13.
Swiatek, a 21-year-old Polish, is emerging as a dominant force in women’s tennis. She is a three-time Grand Slam champion, including the French Open in June and the US Open in September.
These triumphs made her the first woman since 2016 to win two major titles in a single season.
Heading into a tournament she entered this week in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Swiatek is 57-7 with seven titles in 2022. She rode a 37-game winning streak from February to July, the longest in the WTA in a quarter of a century. and helped her win six consecutive trophies.
Swiatek said she made the decision not to compete in the Billie Jean King Cup after “thinking a lot and discussing it with my team again.”
The other 11 participating countries are Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States.
As of now, other singles players in position to make the WTA Finals whose countries will participate in the Billie Jean King Cup include No. 4 Paula Badosa of Spain, No. 6 Jessica Pegula of the United States and the No. 8 Coco Gauff of the United States. .
Swiatek wrote that his withdrawal “makes me sad” and added: “I’m really sorry because I play for Poland whenever possible and I always do my best.”
She said she plans to “talk to the WTA and the ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for players like me, but especially for tennis fans who support our sport.”
ITF President David Haggerty said his group regretted that Swiatek was not taking part in the team competition “and recognizes that the timing of the two major year-end events presents a challenge for players taking part in both events. We have been working with the WTA to try to coordinate suitable dates. »
Haggerty added that the ITF had changed the schedule for the BJK Cup finals so that teams such as Poland and the United States start as late as possible.
“We are committed to working with the WTA on the 2023 schedule,” Haggerty said in a statement released by the ITF, “so that we have a better transition between the two competitions.”
The WTA Finals have been moved from Shenzhen, China, as part of the suspension of all tournaments in that country due to concerns over the safety of Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai who accused a former government official Chinese sexual assault.