Caroline Wozniacki begins her first Grand Slam as a No. 1 seed is just a few days. Critics and some fans and media (like this site) have questioned her legitimacy as a No. 1 player without a Slam title to her name. But she sounds content. Here are her full thoughts going into the 2011 Australian Open:
Q. Your first Grand Slam as world No. 1. How does that fit with you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, it’s a great feeling, definitely. I had a great year last year and finished No. 1, so I’m really happy about that.
Going into this tournament as the No. 1, it’s a good feeling.
Q. It’s not pressure; you look at it more as a confidence boost?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just enjoying myself. I’m playing some good tennis. I’m looking forward to these next weeks.
Q. The loss in Sydney, how has that affected your preparation?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Actually, it didn’t really affect me. I just played some practice sets, practice matches instead. I’m feeling good to go, feeling in good shape. So everything is good.
Q. There’s been talk about being ranked No. 1 when you haven’t won a Grand Slam. Do you feel any need to prove yourself?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t feel I need to prove anything to anybody. You don’t become No. 1 winning small tournaments or doing bad results. You know, I’m a good player. I’ve done great results. Won six tournaments last year. I don’t have to prove anything.
Q. You played pretty well in the final against Clijsters at the year end Championships. Do you try to build on that for this year?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: You always try to improve, always try to build some things into your game. For me I play to win, so I play the way I have to to win the match.
The good thing is that I can play a mixed game. I don’t have to play aggressively. I can also play defensively because I know I can run a lot of balls down. I can mix it up.
Of course, I always want to build on what I already know how to do.
Q. In the off season, did you do anything in particular physically or technically?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, there’s definitely a lot of fitness training in there, a lot of running, a lot of cardio work to become in better shape. Then, of course, on the tennis court, after you go more and more on the court to improve a few things.
So, yeah, definitely a bit of both.
Q. What did you do during the off season, apart from preparing for this season?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I went to a football game. I watched Liverpool against Chelsea at Anfield, which was pretty cool. I was a judge in Miss Ukraine (smiling). I don’t know. Just had some time off, too, to relax and enjoy myself.
Q. No time for beaches?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No. You know, when you’re on the tour all the time, you are in the sun all the time, you want to relax and enjoy. I was in Monaco most of the time, so of course there’s the beach, but it wasn’t really warm enough to lie there.
Q. Talking about being on the tour all the time, you played a lot of tournaments last year. Are you changing the schedule this year?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I feel like I had a good schedule last year. I don’t want to change it because I felt like I was feeling good physically and mentally. I like to play matches. Pretty much the same.
Q. You changed racquets in between seasons. Does that require a lot of adjustment to your game?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, it doesn’t really. It’s a good racquet. I really like it. I think it can only, you know, be better. It’s not getting worse, for sure.
Q. Obviously a lot of interest here in Australia with Sam Stosur. With Serena out, is Sam one of your biggest competitors?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Sam is a really great player. She has been in a Grand Slam final before, so she knows what it takes to get there. So she’s definitely a tough opponent.
Q. How do you feel about Dulko in the first round?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It’s a tough first round because Gisela is a very good player. She likes to play on this surface. She’s getting a lot of balls back.
But I’m looking forward to the match and hoping to get a good start.
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