Top ranked Wozniacki begins quest to prove doubters wrong
Melbourne: World number one Caroline Wozniacki will begin her quest to prove the doubters wrong and win a maiden grand slam when she meets Anastasia Rodionova on the first day of the Australian Open on Monday.
The 21-year-old has been the world`s top ranked player for more than a year but is yet to win a grand slam title, a tag that has dogged the women`s game and started to wear thin on the tall Dane.
"I`ve been number one for a long time already," she told reporters. "Now my main focus is just to win as many tournaments as possible and the ranking will get there, will be there, if you play well."
Wozniacki enters the year`s opening grand slam having sustained a wrist injury last week in Sydney, and while she said she expected to be 100 percent by the time she walks out onto Rod Laver Arena there is still some doubt about the effectiveness of her two-handed backhand.
"I feel confident that my wrist will be okay for Monday," she said. "I really felt the sharp pain, I was a bit concerned.”
"I had some pain, but it`s going away. I`m confident that on Monday it will be a 100 percent ready, so ... now it feels good, so I`m okay."
Kim Clijsters also begins the defence of her title on Monday when she meets Portuguese qualifier Maira Joao Koehler.
Clijsters, who said she had recovered from a hip injury that forced her to withdraw from the Brisbane International, was not sure that going into the tournament as champion would give her an advantage.
"You don`t think about it that much. Obviously you have that good feeling when you step out on a court where you`ve done well, where you`ve achieved a dream or something that came true," Clijsters said.
"So you automatically kind of get that positive vibe again. But that obviously doesn`t mean that it will go easy and smooth the next year."
Men`s world number two Rafa Nadal and number three Roger Federer also begin their campaigns to snatch back the title from Novak Djokovic, with both also telling reporters they were over niggling injuries.
Federer, who faces Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev, had a back injury that forced him out of the Qatar Open, while Nadal, who plays Alex Kuznetsov of the United States, has been battling a shoulder injury since late last year.
"I feel my game is really right where it needs to be, even though now the last few days have been pretty much of a waiting game, seeing how it goes," Federer said of his back injury before the tournament.
"I still feel that I was able to hit the ball enough. The day after I arrived, I went out for 20 minutes at least. I don`t feel like I`m coming from way back.
"I feel like I`m ready to go."