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Caroline Wozniacki Interview
March 14, 2011
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - BNP PARIBAS OPEN
C. WOZNIACKI/M. Martinez Sanchez
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. That was a pretty efficient win, Caroline. What has been your main problem against her in the past?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, she's a very different player. You don't get any rhythm against her. And for me today, it was important to move my feet, try to get as many returns back, and it helped me a little bit that she didn't get too many first serves in so I could go in and dictate the game.
As long as I kept her on the baseline, then I felt like, you know, I was in control of the point. But it was very important to keep the pressure but not force it too much.
Q. Overall very satisfied with your own performance today?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I mean, I'm happy to be through. She's a tough player, so I knew that this was not going to be an easy one. I'm just looking forward to play my fourth round. I'm happy to be there.
You know, I really enjoy playing this tournament, so I'm happy to get another match.
Q. What's it like to play a serve and volleyer? I know you've done it three times before, but it's very unusual on the tour.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It's very unusual, and she's -- especially because she's a good volleyer, as well. You need to -- you just need to focus. Yesterday I had a practice session in the morning where I just focused on the main points that I wanted to do, and not to panic, as well, when she comes to the net.
You know, today I felt like I kept her on the baseline quite a bit, and then I was happy about that.
Q. She also hit some different, not just volleys, but different kinds of shots.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yes.
Q. That you probably almost never see.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Exactly. Very different shots. She has a lot of spin on her forehand and plays very flat with her backhand. That change of rhythm is always difficult, and then she slices, she comes with the dropshots.
So she's a player that -- she's the only one on the tour like that. So to play her, you really need to be focused and really need to know what you want to do out there.
Q. Did you get frustrated when you had played her the last few times before that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Um, no, I didn't really -- no. I can't remember too much. I remember last year in Rome. And then I remember in Bastad, at that time I played her on my birthday. I thought she was going to give me a present, but she did not. (Laughter.)
Yeah, so that's...
Q. So this kind of shows though that maybe your game has matured in the last year that you can handle her the way you did today?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think my game has matured. I think I have matured. I think, yeah, I have learned some things. I think I have got a bit more experience now than I had obviously in the years before.
I think that's helped me.
Q. You have been involved in some of this ranking controversy. Being No. 1, there have been some researchers and professors that have looked at the ranking system maybe doing it two years instead of one year and maybe ranking by prize money. What are your thoughts on taking a look at revamping the way the rankings are done? Do you think there might be a better way, a more predictive way?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think the rankings show how good a player has done in a year, and I think they're working. You know, there will always be experts and people who think otherwise, and they will always try to find a way to make their favorite No. 1.
I guess you can if you construct my points and give some of them to some of the other players, or I don't know what you want to do. But, you know, for me, I really don't care. I go out there. I play. I try to win tournaments, and I try to stay in the finals, to be in the finals.
Yeah, I work hard to improve my game.
Q. I'm not saying it as a knock on you, I'm just saying maybe there's a better way to do the whole system.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I think the system shows how good a player has done in a period of 52 weeks. So I think it's a good system. I think it shows that you need to play really well and be consistent throughout the year to have a good ranking.
Q. What kind of pressure is there being No. 1 for so long now? Has it changed your life?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I was actually pressuring myself when I had this one week, because I know that there was a girl who had two weeks. So I was like, I don't want to be the one who has had the least weeks.
So I'm fine now, you know. I'm just happy about having that ranking, and I'm playing well. I'm improving my game. I'm healthy, knock on wood. So that's the most important thing.
Q. When was the last time you went to regular school? At what age did you stop and then start taking courses online?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Regular school? I stopped when I was 16. 16?
Q. 15 maybe?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: 15 maybe. Yeah. (Smiling.)
Q. What grade was it? So it was, what, ninth grade?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I finished ninth. I finished -- well, in Denmark you have from 0th, so 0 grade counts as well as to ninth grade, that's the first school, and then you have the second part, which is three years.
Q. Which is 10th, 11th, 12?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Or actually we have 11, 12, 13 probably. So I finished 11th, as well, and then 12 and 13th or... Yeah.
Q. Do you still talk to some of your friends from some of those days?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I do. I do.
I have a lot of friends also from kindergarten. I think it's very important to keep in touch with those friends. You know, they see you as the person you are and not a tennis player, not the person you are on court. Actually, most of my best friends, they have no clue about tennis.
So that's nice, as well. You know, it's like, Can you teach me the score? I'm like, No. Okay.
Q. Are some of them in university, and are there times when you think - and I know you're successful and you like tennis - oh, maybe it would have been nice to go to university when I was 18, 19, 20?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, there are some of them going to university. I have a few friends who are actually traveling the world at the moment, so they are -- I think they are in India. I think they're coming to the U.S. next week, so I tried to get them down to Miami.
Yeah, I have a few friends that work, that goes to work now, and of course when you hear about, watch the movies with the college experiences and everything, you know, it looks cool.
But I still have that opportunity after I finish or are taking some courses, just a few courses at a time. But of course it will never be the same.
But again, I'm happy about the things that I have chosen in the lifestyle I've chosen, because, I mean, not a lot of people can say that they love what they do. They can travel the world and they can live from their hobby.
So I have a lot of possibilities after my tennis, as well.
Q. Your father played soccer in Poland, so is he Polish or from The Netherlands?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: He's Polish, yes.
Q. Both your parents are Polish?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yes.
Q. But you were born...
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: In Denmark, uh-huh.
Q. Kim Clijsters said the other day that the expression "tippy toes" had gotten into the Flemish language. I'm wondering if that expression is in Danish or Polish or if you've heard that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I haven't heard that one.
Q. What do you think was the turning point in that match? Was it very early on? You know, because she's beaten you previously, so was there a period in the start where you knew that you were going to have a good day?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Mmm, I don't know. Not really. I knew that I have to focus on my own serve. She has a pretty tricky serve, so I knew that, you know, once I have broken her, I just need to keep my serve. That sounds very easy, but it's difficult to do sometimes.
I knew that I had to fight till the last point, because, yeah, you never know what to expect.
Q. Because you practice with men regularly.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yes.
Q. Do you feel like on the ground that there isn't that much difference between the power men and women use? Main difference is in the serve? Or do you feel like groundstrokes is quite a bit of a difference?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's different. I think the men play with a lot more spin. They play with a bigger margin over the net. Maybe it doesn't seem so fast when it comes to you, but once it bounces, it just goes away.
Of course, they are stronger. They're faster than us, there's no doubt about that. And they have a better serve. If I play just from feeling from the hand, I can win tiebreakers, I can win to 11. But, you know, there's no chance to do that if you serve.
And also, the men, sometimes they just think differently. Sometimes we can panic when we get a shot and we don't really know what to do with it. They just place the ball. They know then that they can expect this and that.
And I think that's what we can learn from the men, as well. I think it's just different, because sometimes you play the girls, and the ball just comes so fast. I mean, it's like this over the net, and you really have to be ready, because otherwise the ball just goes everywhere.
So it's different kind of tennis, for sure.
Q. We finished a project on BNP last year. The women were very close to the men on groundstrokes. The men were 2.2 seconds between hits, and the women were 2.5 seconds. So the women were just 300 milliseconds off the groundstrokes behind the men. So they're closing in on the men on speed off the ground. Do you recognize that when you see them play?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's difficult. I think always when you stand on the court you feel like everything is going so fast. You feel like you're playing great tennis, but sometimes if you see the video or look from the outside, you maybe realize there are still some things you can work on, and maybe it's not going that fast.
But again, you know, it's so different to -- it's tough. When you're a player, you always think that you play very fast, that the balls come faster to you. So it's tough to say, and for me it's difficult.
I never played a real match against a man, and I don't really want to because I like to win, so I like the way it is. (Smiling.)