“I definitely respect her a lot. She's a great player, and what she did last season and what she keeps doing, it's really motivated me a lot to improve, to keep working hard, to keep fighting,” Sabalenka said of the two-time Roland-Garros champion.
“I know that it's always battles against her. It's always really great matches… I would say that like this year matches are completely different matches than it was last year.
“I improved a lot and I really want to win against her… To have this win, especially on clay, that's something unbelievable.”
The pair had already established a prolific rivalry last season and Swiatek claimed their sole meeting at a major, en route to the US Open trophy in September.
“Last year you could say that about me and Ons (Jabeur) a little bit, so I think we need, like, a couple more tournaments or couple more months to kind of judge that,” Swiatek said of the rivalry following her Madrid defeat.
“I still am aware that each of us can win the tournaments… I played against Aryna, like, I don't know, six times last year, and against Elena twice this year already. You can see that there's like maybe a little bit of a rivalry.”