World No.1 Iga Swiatek dominates the Hologic WTA Tour, but Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina defeated her in straight sets in both their meetings this season — in the fourth round of the Australian Open and in the semifinals of Indian Wells. Famous tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou shed some light on why Swiatek has struggled against Rybakina’s style of play, both tactically and mentally.
Tactically, Swiatek needs to dominate in the rallies. She needs to be in control, dictating play and being the boss on the court. However, Rybakina’s style of play is hurtful to Swiatek, both on her serve and in the rallies. Rybakina’s first serve is extremely dangerous, and she hits hard, flat, and fast in the rallies, rarely missing a shot. This makes it very difficult for Swiatek to get into a rhythm and take control of the match.
Mentally, Swiatek struggles against Rybakina because of her previous losses to the Kazakhstani player. When you lose several times in a row, and in a way badly to one player, you start to feel like that player is better than you, and that they pose a significant threat. This mental block makes it even more challenging for Swiatek to compete well against Rybakina.
So what makes Rybakina’s tennis a nightmare for Swiatek? Mouratoglou believes it’s a combination of her powerful serve, aggressive play, and ability to hit winners consistently. This makes her a difficult opponent for anyone to face, but particularly for players like Swiatek, who rely on dominating rallies and taking control of the match. (photo: Jimmie48)