Iga Swiatek heads into the Indian Wells Masters as WTA top seed while trying to duck the pressure of her 2022 win streak which sent her to the top of the game.
The 21-year-old Pole won eight titles in 2022 but said on Wednesday she is surely unlikely to defend them all.
“I’m not concentrating on No. 1, I’m focusing on the (season) points race,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether I defend (everything) or not. I never dreamed of becoming No. 1 , I never thought it would be possible.
“It is something that was truly above my expectations.”
Swiatek repeated as Roland Garros champion while added the US Open to her honours list; she also won six other tournament titles in a red-hot run which began in February 2022, in Qatar.
Swiatek began this season with repeat Doha titles but was upset in the Dubai final a week later by fellow Grand Slam winner Barbora Krejcikova.
With expectations high, public disappointment emerged, forcing the player to try and put it all out of her mind..
“After Doha and Dubai I felt I was playing pretty strongly, I had a small streak of solid matches,” she said.
“But I lost that final and people surprised and bummed – before this huge streak I would have been happy (with a title and a final in as many weeks). I’m happy with how I played.
“But there was still more pressure; i’m trying to deal with the situation.”