The world's top-ranked tennis star will face her 'best friend on tour' at the US Open, just days after they dined together in NYC

Iga Swiatek (right) at Kaja Juvan at the 2021 French Open.
Iga Swiatek (right) and Kaja Juvan at the 2021 French Open.Robert Prange/Getty Images
  • World No. 1 Iga Swiatek faces a unique test in her third-round match at the 2023 US Open.

  • The reigning champion will be playing against her "best friend on tour," Slovenia's Kaja Juvan.

  • Swiatek said it could be "tricky" playing her pal, with whom she had dinner in NYC days before the tournament.

NEW YORK — Iga Swiatek has little trouble thrashing her opponents on the court.

The purveyor of of so many bagels — sets in which she wins every single game — that fans joke she runs "Iga's Bakery," the 22-year-old Pole has dominated women's tennis as the world's top-ranked player for 74 consecutive weeks.

But the usually unrelenting Swiatek suspects she may find herself in "a tricky situation" for Friday's US Open match as she prepares to take on a familiar foe. So familiar, in fact, that they ate dinner together in New York City mere days before the matchup.

Iga Swiatek serves at the 2023 US Open.
Iga Swiatek serves at the 2023 US Open.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

"For sure she's my best friend on tour," Swiatek said of Kaja Juvan, her third-round opponent. "She's one of the most honest and smart people on tour. I'm happy that she's my friend, but yeah, we've got to play against each other."

That's some ruthless smack-talk from the four-time Grand Slam champion.

Swiatek has come out on top in each of her past two meetings with Juvan, a 22-year-old Slovenian. But the world No. 145 gave her friend some trouble in both of those matches; Swiatek dropped her first set against Juvan at the 2021 Gippsland Trophy and, a few months later, lost five games to her at the French Open.

Kaja Juvan during 2023 US Open qualifiers.
Kaja Juvan during 2023 US Open qualifiers.Robert Prange/Getty Images

Still, Swiatek insists that she and her friend "know how to keep it cool."

"I think we both can cut off the off-court friendship and just play our game," she said. "And then we are friends back."

"We both know how to be professional and just play the match and that's all," Swiatek added.

For her part, Juvan doesn't believe "the friendship part is a big deal" when it comes to the match itself. While she says the two are always supporting one another on tour, Juvan sees Friday's bout with the reigning US Open champion as "a good challenge" and an opportunity to prove herself on a massive stage.

Iga Swiatek.
Iga Swiatek poses with her US Open trophy after winning the tournament in 2022.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

"In any case, I'm trying to have the right attitude and fight for every point, and let's see where I stand," Juvan said in her press conference Wednesday. "I have to go into each match thinking 'Okay, you can do this.' That's how I'm gonna try to go."

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