The one dark cloud threatening Wozniacki`s sun

Updated: Mar 11, 2011, 09:09 AM IST

California: Caroline Wozniacki is usually a picture of serenity but whenever challenged about the merits of her world number one status, her face creases into an instant frown.

The 20-year-old Dane with a generally sunny disposition has come under continual pressure in the media for reaching the top of the rankings without winning a grand slam title, a point of view with which she vehemently disagrees.

"I don`t believe I need to prove anything to anyone," Wozniacki told reporters while preparing for the elite Indian Wells WTA tournament in the California desert.

"You don`t get to number one by winning small tournaments. I know I`m a good player and I`ve had great results over the last two years."

Wozniacki reached her first grand slam final at the 2009 U.S. Open, where she lost to Belgian Kim Clijsters, before ending a breakthrough season with three WTA tournament wins.

Last year, she eclipsed that by claiming six titles on the circuit and reached the top of the rankings for the first time in October.

"I was hungry to get that top spot," the fashion-conscious Dane said. "That`s what everyone else dreams about and it`s something I`ve always worked for."

"If you ask people outside of tennis if they want to be number one in the world, of course they would say yes. And they would say the same thing if asked about winning a grand slam."

"I would like to do both. When my career is over, we`ll see but so far it`s all going pretty good."

Wozniacki, who is known for her tenacity and elegant groundstrokes, is likely to vie for that top spot with second-ranked Clijsters over the coming weeks and months, a challenge the Dane will approach with relish.

"It just makes you play even better," she said. "It always motivates you. But it doesn`t really matter if you are the world number one or number two or three or four, it`s still a great ranking. We are all great players."

Twelve months ago, Wozniacki was ranked third in the world and ended up reaching the final at Indian Wells where she was crushed 6-2, 6-4 by Serb Jelena Jankovic.

This year, the Dane will start the tournament as both top seed and the world number one but she is taking none of that for granted.

"I feel like I am improving all the time," said Wozniacki, who has attracted some criticism for her lack of on-court aggression during crucial moments in matches.

"I`ve got more experience and by becoming world number one I have reached one of the goals I have had since I started out so that makes it all a bit different."

"But again, every time you go out on the court, it`s a fresh challenge. I want to try to win, I want to try to improve. It`s just great when it`s working out for you."

Wozniacki, who won her 13th WTA title at last month`s Dubai championships, will launch her Indian Wells campaign against American wildcard Sloane Stephens in the second round on Saturday.

Bureau Report