Martina Navratilova picks her winner for the WTA Finals: ‘How can you go against her?’

Iga Swiatek celebrates Credit: Alamy
Iga Swiatek celebrates Credit: Alamy

Martina Navratilova believes Iga Swiatek is the clear favourite to walk away with the WTA Finals title as there will be “absolutely no pressure” on her, although she does caution the world No 1 against being too “relaxed” after a great year.

Swiatek has enjoyed a dream 2022 season as she became world No 1 for the first time in March and has won eight titles – including the French Open and US Open – to take her WTA career tally to 11.

The Pole is 64–8 this campaign and she will be looking to add title No 9 to her expanding trophy cabinet at the WTA Finals at Dickies Arena in Texas this week.

Swiatek has played two tournaments since lifting the US Open title at Flushing Meadows in September – finishing runner-up at the Ostrava Open and winning the San Diego Open a fortnight ago – before taking a break ahead of the season finale in the United States.

Navratilova, who won eight end-of-season championships, feels Swiatek will be able to “free tennis” in Fort Worth.

“She won two of the four majors, and the rest of it is just mind-blowing,” the legend told WTATennis.com. “When I had a great year, at the year-end championships, you relaxed. It’s ‘I had a great year, I don’t have to prove anything.’

“She’s had a couple of weeks off. There’s absolutely no pressure on her, so she could play probably the most free tennis of anybody there.”

Swiatek will be joined at the WTA Finals by Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka and Daria Kasatkina.

The 21-year-old finds herself in Group Tracy Austin alongside Gauff, Garcia and Kasatkina.

Asked to pick a winner for the tournament, tennis great Navratilova replied: “You have to go with Swiatek. How can you go against her? She would probably adapt the best to whatever the speed of the court is going to be.

“She’s got pretty compact strokes, even though she puts a lot of topspin on that forehand. It’s not a massive swing, so she can deal with the faster court.

“And growing up in Poland, she probably would have practiced a lot on faster courts so she can adapt to that. If it’s slow, great, the topspin will pay off for her. I can’t go against her because she’s never going to beat herself.”

READ MORE: WTA Tour Finals – Iga Swiatek set for French Open final rematch with Coco Gauff

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