Iga Swiatek a cut above the rest, can't count out Naomi Osaka when she returns: Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci

Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka and Rick Macci pictured
Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka and Rick Macci pictured

Beyond the dominance of Iga Swiatek, the current landscape of women's tennis is changeable and fluid, according to Venus and Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci. The American coach also believes Naomi Osaka will make a strong return to tennis amid the unpredictability of the WTA tour.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, Macci first claimed that Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Swiatek could potentially ignite a compelling rivalry akin to that between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

"Can Sabalenka, Rybakina and Iga form a new big three in women's tennis? Absolutely. I think those three are the leaders of the clubhouse, no doubt about it. They've kind of all proven themselves so at the end of the day, those would be the three that could have a rivalry," he said.

The 68-year-old acknowledged, however, that the landscape of women's tennis, apart from the World No. 1 Swiatek, is not as solid. He warned against counting out Osaka, who has proven herself to be a formidable competitor in the past.

Additionally, while Macci considers Swiatek to be a cut above the rest, he also believes that the WTA has several players who can defeat anyone on a given day.

"But all that being said, I can see, because women's tennis other than Iga is a little more fluid you know. I think you can't count out Osaka when she comes back because she's proven herself. And there's other players on any given day that can beat anybody. Even though Iga is a little bit, in my opinion, a cut above," Macci opined.

Serena Williams' former coach added that the formation of a Big 3-esque rivalry by Sabalenka, Rybakina, and Swiatek may depend on the surface.

"Little bit of this depends on the surface but they definitely can form a rivalry, there's no doubt about it," he said.

Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Iga Swiatek can definitely have a Big 3 rivalry for a long time: Rick Macci

Aryna Sabalenka defeated Iga Swiatek in the Madrid Open final
Aryna Sabalenka defeated Iga Swiatek in the Madrid Open final

Rick Macci also stated that the fight for dominance in women's tennis is currently wide open with "pedigreed" players Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty hanging up their rackets and Naomi Osaka currently on maternity leave.

Macci then reiterated his belief that Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, and Iga Swiatek can emulate the Big 3 and form a similar long-term rivalry among themselves.

"But with women's tennis it's kind of fluid, you know Serena retired, Barty exited stage left, Osaka you know, she's had a kid so you know at the end of the day a lot of people that had the pedigree are no longer there so it's wide open. But absolutely Sabalenka, Rybakina and Iga, they can definitely have a Big-3 rivalry for a long time," he said.

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Edited by Siddharth Dhananjay
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