Tennis fans have pointed out a stunning detail in Aussie Ash Barty's former reign as World No.1 after Iga Swiatek lost the ranking in her shock US Open defeat. Swiatek was left stunned on Arthur Ashe Stadium after Jelena Ostapenko blasted the Polish star off the court winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in astonishing fashion at Flushing Meadows.
Swiatek's loss means Aryna Sabalenka is to become World No.1 after the US Open. Swiatek took over the World No.1 ranking from Australia's Barty - when she retired in 2022 - and hasn't relinquished the title till now.
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The 21-year-old was World No.1 for 74 weeks straight. However, many tennis fans have pointed out just how impressive Barty's reign was at the top of the sport.
Barty was World No.1 for 114 weeks straight, which saw her win Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Australian Open before her sudden retirement. Barty's streak of 114 weeks in a row puts her fourth in the list behind a number of legends.
Serena Williams and Steffi Graf Martina Navartilova both share the record of holding the World No.1 ranking for 186 weeks in a row. Martina Navartilova is third on the list with 156 weeks.
While Barty was criticised for holding the ranking during her the frozen rankings period, which saw Barty play little tennis due to border restrictions, there was little doubt the Australian was the most complete player on the planet. Barty spent six continuous months on the road in 2021 as the sporting world opened up again to competition and she was still able to win six titles.
And tennis fans have pointed out just how dominant Barty was during her reign, before Swiatek took over. Many have also pointed out it is a shame, from a sporting point of view, that the two players didn't compete across many years to duel it out for the mantle.
Most consecutive weeks — longest stints — as number 1 since 2000:
🇺🇸 Serena | 186
🇦🇺 Barty | 114
🇵🇱 ŚWIĄTEK | 74 ⬆️
🇨🇭 Hingis | 73
🇧🇪 Henin | 61
🇺🇸 Serena | 57
🇺🇸 Serena | 49
🇩🇰 Wozniacki | 49 pic.twitter.com/tUCzvUFPE3
— Juan Ignacio (@juanignacio_ac) August 27, 2023
Ash Barty would be comfy #1 https://t.co/oMca3qKfwU
— Mike Andrews (@mandrews93DFS) September 4, 2023
WTA twitter account already tweeting about the new no. 1. 🙃@ashbarty please come back! 😭😭
— BEE 💓 (@miserablehalf) September 4, 2023
Iga needs to get stronger against power players. Ash Barty was awesome against power players.
— Shi S. (@FergusonSh38083) September 4, 2023
Iga Swiatek devastated after US Open loss
Following her defeat, Swiatek said she felt 'sad' in giving up the ranking she had held so dominantly for more than a year. However, Swiatek looked at the example of past champions in how to deal with the setback.
"Well, it meant a lot, obviously," the three-time grand slam champ said. "It was great. On the other hand this last part, it was pretty exhausting. I still need to do all this stuff that my team and all these great players like Roger or Novak or Rafa are telling about - you just have to focus on the tournaments, not the rankings.
"Usually I'm not looking at numbers, but overall I love them. I would love to extend this record a little bit longer. This is something that when I was younger, I actually kind of wanted to break some record or have something. I already did that because I already won a Slam as the first Polish player [to do so]. Obviously being No. 1 as the first [Polish] player in history is great.
"But for sure when it happens, when you lose it, there are some sad emotions. As I said at the beginning, all these great players know it's going to come back if you work hard, focus on the right things, just develop as a player.
"For sure besides this match, which was pretty weird, I feel like I am progressing as a player. I have more skills."
Sabalenka will have a chance to move into the US Open quarter-final with a win over Daria Kasatkina. Sabalenka won her maiden grand slam this year at the Australian Open and has continued her strong form throughout 2023.
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