Swiatek & Sabalenka: The rivalry we all knew we needed

The WTA has been urging for an intense rivalry. The kind of that has existed on the men’s side for years. The Big 3 rivalry has elevated the sport for more than a decade. They have challenged each other to improve their game even more. The weekly battle for titles has kept them at the peak of the sport for years and as a result has captivated millions of fans all around the world, keeping us at the edge of our seats each finals Sunday.

Dominance by a single player might be entertaining, but a rivalry brings more emotion and excitement to the professional tours.

Several players in the WTA have dominated the tour for months in a row or years, as in the case of Serena Williams. Serena was ranked at the top of the rankings for more than 300 weeks. Winning a total of 73 singles titles plus 23 doubles titles including 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and 4 Olympic medals.

During this year Williams had to face tough opponents and lost in several Grand Slam finals against players like Ararenza, Sharapova, Kerber, and her sister Venus to mention a few. These players took a few Grand Slam titles out of her hands, however, Serena would come back stronger and beat them badly in their next confrontations.

US Open 2019

When it wasn’t Serena the one to beat the baton was momentarily passed onto Azarenka for a few years between 2012 and 2013, while Kerber led the WTA in 2016. They might not be as great as Serena when she would dominate, but when they stepped on a court during those seasons they rarely had anyone as their equal on the other side. 

Similar to when Barty had not retired, and later Swiatek, who barely dropped a set on her way to her Grand Slam titles, went on to a winning streak of 37 matches without losing.

But Sabalenka seems to have come to make our dreams come true. What Aryna and Iga are building is something special, with the potential of being the long-lasting rivalry that the WTA and the fans had been asking for. For now, we get to enjoy it as it is. 

It got even more exciting with Sabalenka’s recent victory against Swiatek in the Madrid final, which the Belarusian won 6-3 3-6 6-3 to Claim the title after the last meeting between the two—less than a month ago— in the Stuttgart final, which went in Swiatek favor.

Stuttgart Open 2023

You can tell how much they love to compete and how much they want to beat each other. They might not become friends like Nadal and Federer, but their competitive spirits continue to captivate people across the globe.

Mutua Madrid Open 2023

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