Wozniacki defends ranking despite lack of slam success | sports | Hindustan Times
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Wozniacki defends ranking despite lack of slam success

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2011 09:07 IST

Reuters
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Caroline Wozniacki had a stint as judge of a beauty contest in Ukraine during the off-season, but the Dane is loathe to be judged on her grand slam record as she takes the world number one ranking into Australian Open.

The 20-year-old won six tournaments to end the year as number one yet failed to reach a single grand slam final in 2010 and is still seeking her maiden major triumph.

Eighteen-time grand slam champion Martina Navratilova has been among a chorus of voices calling for Wozniacki to step up and prove her top ranking with a grand slam crown, but the Dane has little doubt about her place in the game.

"I don't feel I need to prove anything to anybody," she told reporters.

"You don't become number one 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."

Wozniacki was top seed at the US Open last year but was beaten in the semi-finals by Russian world number two Vera Zvonareva, ending a run of 13 wins for the Dane as she finished the year strongly with titles in four of her last six events.

With defending champion Serena Williams injured and out of the Melbourne Park draw, the breezy blonde Wozniacki might feel more confident about her breaking her grand slam duck, despite problems in her preparations.

Beaten by Belgian Kim Clijsters and Zvonareva in New Year exhibitions, the latter a 6-1 6-0 thrashing, Wozniacki also lost her first match at the Sydney International, a warm-up tournament for the year's first major.

Good shape
"Actually, it didn't really affect me," she said, shrugging off her form.

"I just played some practice sets, practice matches instead. I'm feeling good to go, feeling in good shape. So everything is good."

She has drawn 48th-ranked Argentine Gisela Dulko in a relatively trouble-free run before the quarter-finals where last year's finalist Justine Henin, seeded 11th here, or French Open champion Francesca Schiavone may await.

Wozniacki described Dulko as a "very good player" and dangerous on Melbourne Park's synthetic surface, but trounced the Argentine 6-1 6-1 in their last meeting in 2008, also in the first round of the Australian Open.

Wozniacki has never passed the fourth round at Melbourne Park, however, and was dumped out of the last 16 by surprise semi-finalist Li Na last year, after losing to the Chinese number one in the first round at Sydney in the lead-up.

Li, who upset Clijsters to win the Sydney title on Friday, looms as a dark horse and potential semi-final threat for Wozniacki, but the Dane has plenty of work to do before that.

"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 win the match," Wozniacki added.

"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."