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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Practice makes perfect.

Unless you're world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and success leaves your body screaming for training time-out.

The top-seeded Swiatek saved three championship points dethroning defending champion Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7) in a pulsating three hour, 11-minute Mutua Madrid Open final on Saturday that will go down as a clay classic.

On her second championship point, Swiatek spun a deep return, drew one final error and fell flat on her back absorbing a wild win.

Reigning Roland Garros champion Swiatek raised her record to 32-4 on the season.

Meeting the media in Rome today, Swiatek said she's considering a dramatic depature: Skipping practice in between match days in Rome in an effort to give her body a reprieve.

Swiatek, who has practiced in Rome already after arriving from Madrid, said the combination of WTA 1000 events now spanning two weeks and her success playing deep into events means her days off are diminished.

Consequently, Swiatek and her team are "worried" about the lack of rest days so they may well skip practice days if she goes deep in Rome.

"I know that if I'm going to stay longer in a tournament, I might have also some days off where I don't even practice," Swiatek told the media in Rome. "We're trying to plan it differently than last seasons because we are worried.

"These tournaments are longer and it's not possible to have days off before, so sometimes you have to have them during."

While that may sound like a radical approach given the fact the Rome clay can elicit a different bounce than red clay events in Madrid and Stuttgart Swiatek has played in recent weeks, skipping practice is not unprecedented.

Hall of Famers Martina Hingis and John McEnroe often played doubles rather than practice and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova sometimes did not practice on off days during the US Open, opting instead to walk in Central Park because she did not like to fight the crowded New York City traffic to get from Manhattan to Queens.

Swiatek says skipping practice in Rome will be a new experience.

"Also it's the kind of approach that we are still trying to figure out because we never actually did it," Swiatek said. "I always practiced in between matches.

"I mean, my coaches are planning it. No point for me to focus on that because I want to win first matches, and we'll see what's going to happen afterwards. If I lose, then I'm going to have a hundred days off..."

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty