Iga Swiatek is the best tennis player in the world, but even she still gets starstruck by the great Serena Williams.
The 21-year-old assumed the number one ranking from Ashleigh Barty earlier this year and won her second Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Swiatek also bettered Venus Williams’ long-standing record of most consecutive wins this millennium by winning 37 matches in a row.
Yet, while the 21-year-old has been in scintillating form, she is yet to work up the courage to speak to Serena.
The two have never played each other on the WTA Tour and with Williams having recently announced her imminent retirement, it appears time is running out for the Polish star to say ‘hello.’
When it was brought up if she’d ever spoken to the 23-time major winner, Swiatek responded: “The thing is that I have a hard-time catching eye contact with Serena.
“I wanted to say ‘hi’ a few times but it’s tough because she always has so many people around her and I’m pretty shy.
“When I look at her, I suddenly forget that I’m here as the world number one. I see Serena and it’s like ‘WOW, Serena,’ you know? And I feel like I’m a kid from kindergarten looking at her. So it’s tough. I haven’t talked to her but I’m just trying to say ‘hi.’”
Swiatek was then asked if she thought Williams knew who she was –– to which she replied: “I don’t know.”
WTA #1 Iga Swiatek has not played Serena Williams yet in her career, nor has she yet worked up the courage to talk to her.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 15, 2022
From her pre-tournament press in #CincyTennis today: pic.twitter.com/KOqHZTi78w
Swiatek dreaming of Williams clash
Swiatek was not born when Williams made her debut on the WTA Tour and the Pole says she remembers watching the former world number one growing up.
“[It] just seemed like a different world,” she stressed.
With Williams set to put down her racquet for good after the US Open, Swiatek is hoping for a chance to play the 40-year-old.
“I would love to just see how it is to see her on the other side of the net.”
Swiatek to face Stephens
Both Swiatek and Williams are competing at the Cincinnati Masters this week.
Swiatek faces American star Sloane Stephens in the first round, while Williams will play reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in a blockbuster tie.
Williams has won in Cincinnati on two occasions in the past but has just one match victory since her return to tennis at Wimbledon in June.
On the other hand, Swiatek is bidding to become the first player since Williams to win seven titles before the US Open.
However, in four appearances at the tournament, the Pole has never advanced past the round of 32.