New world number one Iga Swiatek says taking the top rank is a "dream come true" and something she never strongly believed could happen.
Swiatek made history as the first Polish tennis player to reach the top ranking, taking over the mantle following Ashleigh Barty's shock decision to retire from the sport in midweek. She will officially become number one when the WTA rankings are updated on April 4.
The 20-year-old Pole, who won the 2020 French Open and made this year's Australian Open semi-finals, made the ascent to the summit after beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 at the Miami Open on Friday.
"It's a dream come true, for sure," Swiatek told reporters. "It's that kind of thing that I wanted to happen someday, but I didn't really know that it's going to be possible for me.
"I never really imagined that moment, because truth to be told, I was working day by day and I was playing tennis well, but I never had that like that strong belief that it can actually happen, so it's even more surreal for me."
Swiatek has claimed WTA 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Doha this year, with her victory over Golubic extending her winning run to 12 matches.
She is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.
"I think it's going to be a bit different and maybe the hype is going to be a bit bigger, but I'm ready for that," she said.
"Honestly, it's like part of the job, so I always knew if I'm going to succeed, it's going to be there. I really appreciate people being really enthusiastic and really pumped up because I think sometimes I'm even playing for them."
Barty was quick to congratulate Swiatek on claiming the number one ranking, saying there is "no better person" than the Pole.
"There is no better person," Barty said in a message. "The way that she's brought this fresh, fearless energy onto the court has been incredible.
"I hope she can take it and still be her, do it her own way, and really chase what she's after in her career and her dreams."
And now... it's just me and my ribs. pic.twitter.com/Tcrodyierv— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) March 26, 2022