Caroline Wozniacki knows the opportunity she has to break through for her maiden grand slam win is as good as it’s ever been at this year’s n Open.
Her recent form has been so good she has surged back up the rankings to be No.2 in the world, having lost her two-year hold on the No.1 ranking at this same tournament way back in 2012.
And last year’s reigning champion Serena Williams is missing after deciding to pass the first Grand Slam of the year following the birth of her first child.
But the 27-year-old does not enjoy it when the topic turns to her failure to turn the class her ranking suggests into a grand slam title and becomes slightly defensive when asked whether she is putting more or less pressure on herself now to make the breakthrough.
“It’s the same. I don’t put more, I don’t put less pressure. It’s just the same,” Wozniacki said.
“It’s a new tournament, a new year. I’m healthy. I have the opportunity to play here. I’m just going to enjoy that [and] see where it takes me.”
Yet to make a final in Melbourne – she came agonisingly close in 2011 – her form is strong having reached the Auckland Open final in New Zealand last week.
She said that tournament was a good warm-up, the long days reminding her that the body doesn’t bounce back quite as quickly as it once did, but also priming her for a tilt at the tournament.
Most of all, she enters the season happy, content with her fitness and her life and the place tennis has within it, citing her positive outlook as the main reason she fired in 2017.
“Once I was healthy, I could just put the work in, like just mentally enjoy it more,” Wozniacki said. “Everything else will kind of fall into place.”
She expects her opening-round encounter with left-handed Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu to be tricky but says every game is hard now as opponents come with a plan to knock her off her game.
“You have a target on your back. They try to find new ways to beat you. You have to keep improving and find a way to be ahead of them,” Wozniacki said.
“It’s much easier when you’re a little unknown.”
She admits that returning to being No.1 in the world would be nice but the desire to achieve that honour decreases slightly once it’s been achieved.
Now, although she doesn’t say so, it’s the elusive grand slam victory that she has her eyes on.
Not that Wozniacki will reveal disappointment if she doesn’t get there this month.
“All I can do is my best and be in the moment, play my best tennis. If that’s good enough, that’s great. If it’s not, that’s OK also,” Wozniacki said.
“You go back home, you practise, you try again.”
Meanwhile the tournament’s No.3 seed Garbine Muguruza is hopeful she can overcome her injury interrupted preparation in the next fortnight.
After suffering a full body cramp in Brisbane, she withdrew from the Sydney International with a thigh injury.
However she hopes to be right by the time she plays her opening round match on Tuesday and is confident her form is reasonable.
“I’m training every day. I’m doing everything I can to be fully recovered. Hopefully I’m pain-free and everything-free once the tournament starts,” Muguruza said.