For someone who has done so much winning this year it might be surprising to hear Iga Swiatek say that stacking up more W's is not her only focus this summer.
The world No. 1 has bossed the WTA Tour in 2022, scooping up four WTA 1000 titles, a second Grand Slam title at the French Open, and winning 37 matches in a row, a streak which ended in the third round at Wimbledon.
She’s the top seed at this week’s Canadian Open in Toronto, a tournament where she hinted at her potential in 2019 when she upset former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki before losing to Naomi Osaka in a close match. Three years later it will be about trying to assert her authority on her rivals again and restore her aura of invincibility after losing two of her last four matches (Wimbledon and Warsaw).
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Swiatek says she hopes she can play with freedom after putting the first half of the season – and the best winning streak seen on the WTA Tour this century - behind her.
"I know there are many players who did even more, but I'm pretty proud of what I did in the first part of the season," she said.
"I hope this gives me some freedom to play freely because I don't have to prove anything. On the other hand, it can also pressure me, so I'm just trying not to think about what happened but prepare for what's coming.
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"I just hope I'm not going to be only focused on winning, winning, winning because I want to also improve some stuff in my game.
"We had time to practice a little bit more after Roland Garros and after Wimbledon. So I hope that I'll implement those things."
Since losing to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon, Swiatek has spent time in Poland where she helped arrange a charity event to raise money for children affected by the war in Ukraine. She then returned to clay to play at the Poland Open in Warsaw, where she surprisingly lost to eventual champion Caroline Garcia in the quarter-finals.
Even though she still starts as the strong favourite for every tournament this summer, the losses to Cornet and Garcia might have given the rest of the tour a glimmer of hope, plus this is a time of the season where Swiatek has not yet had much success, failing to make it past the last 16 at the Canadian Open, Western & Southern Open or US Open.
But she hopes calling on her memories of her 2019 showing will act as inspiration.
"Remembering that, I can see how much work I put in and how different I feel right now," she said.
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"Every practice back then I was studying and seeing how I'm going to feel, seeing who I can play, who is too strong for me.
"These two matches that I played against Caroline Wozniacki and Naomi are the two matches that made me feel like I can do something."
Swiatek, who has a bye in the first round, faces either American Shelby Rogers or 19th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova in the second round on Wednesday.
She could then face home favourite Leylah Fernandez in the third round and a stacked top half of the draw also includes Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Garbine Muguruza.
Williams has confirmed that she will be retiring from tennis, likely after the upcoming US Open.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion said in an interview with Vogue that she is “evolving away from tennis” and added on social media that the “countdown has begun”.
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