Justine Henin believes Iga Swiatek has what it takes to prove she is the number one player in the world following Ash Barty's decision to retire from tennis.
The Pole, who will ascend to world No. 1 after the Miami Open, will face Naomi Osaka in Saturday's final after beating Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5 in one hour and 50 minutes on Thursday.
Former world No.1 Henin believes Barty retiring is "not good news" for the women's game but backs Swiatek to rise to the expectation of being the number one player on the WTA tour.
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"Barty's retirement is not good news for women's tennis today," she told Eurosport. "She was a girl who brought a lot of creativity, with an extremely complete game. And she had this consistency.
"Iga Swiatek, she has charisma, she can get the public, she likes to play in front of people. I think that she will now have to go for the big titles.
"Iga will have to avoid the trap of that absolute pressure, when you go out on the court as world No. 1 of having to impose yourself, of having to win every game.
"But rather taking it as a positive privilege and saying to herself today that she is not stealing this place from anyone. And to continue to work and try to establish a bit more authority.
"She has so much desire to do well that sometimes she loses herself a little in this energy.
"There is experience, maturity that will come into play little by little. She has something in her personality, so we hope she'll be a great world No. 1."
Australian world No. 1 Barty stunned the tennis world last month when she decided to retire from the sport to “chase other dreams”.
Henin, who retired from tennis age 28 due to a knee injury, says she can relate to Barty’s decision to leave the sport.
“I was surprised, at first," she said.
“Of course, I can put myself in her shoes because I stopped - not really in the same conditions, but I was young too, so I started again afterwards. We don't know what the future holds for her - and I was surprised because Ash Barty seemed to me to be the one who was going to continue to stamp her authority on women's tennis.
“The world No. 1, retiring so young, it's always something surprising, but at the same time Barty doesn't necessarily do things the same way as the others.
“You have to respect her decision, nobody can judge because we all live our careers in a different way. I must have been 25 at the time too when I decided to retire from tennis.
"So of course there are a lot of similarities with Barty. That's why I can totally relate to her and understand. I was clearly on the verge of psychological exhaustion.
“I made my decision at Berlin airport. I thought about it for 30 minutes. So it happened very quickly.
“I felt like I had sacrificed so much in my family life and in my personal life, I had closed a lot of drawers in my personal life for tennis and it was time to sort out things in my personal life. And as long as I had this career, I couldn't do that. So it was also a search for balance.
“I would have preferred to have the strength in hindsight to say 'I'm taking a good break', but as I'm doing things at 300% and it's often black and white with me, I made the decision to stop.
“I wanted to get out of the rankings too, as soon as possible. It has to do with my personality.”
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