Cancun, The Gulf Observer: WTA Finals champion Iga Swiatek said the poor playing conditions in Cancun forced her to focus on her game instead of being distracted by the prospect of regaining the world number one ranking.
The four-time Grand Slam champion swept aside Jessica Pegula 6-1 6-0 to claim her first WTA Finals title, and return to the top of the rankings after being deposed by Aryna Sabalenka in September.
The WTA conceded this year’s edition of the Finals was “not a perfect event”, with the court condition and stormy weather among the issues affecting players. Sabalenka said she did not feel safe playing on the court.
“The conditions that were kind of tricky also helped me to just, you know, focus on adjust my footwork, my shots … that kept me busy from thinking about all of that,” Swiatek told reporters of the number one ranking on Monday.
“So I think today was … just being narrow with your head, only thinking about the right stuff.”
The 22-year-old Pole said she had been distracted by the ranking race at other tournaments and it had affected her performance.
“It played (in my mind) a lot in the US Open and the tournaments before but I kind of learned my lesson,” she said.
“This time I didn’t want it to have an impact on me … it’s hard not to think about stuff like that but actually when I went on court I knew that I had to focus on different things.”
Cancun was named as venue for the $9 million WTA Finals, which brings together the top eight singles players and doubles partnerships to conclude the season, less than two months before it started on Oct. 29.