Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki says her competitive fires have not dimmed since she finally won a first Grand Slam title in Melbourne six months ago.
The Dane began her Wimbledon preparation with a 6-2 6-3 win over Italy’s Camilla Giorgi in Eastbourne on Monday.
Wozniacki is gearing up for another Grand Slam campaign after landing a major at the 43rd attempt in Australia.
“Nothing really changes and you just have to go out there and keep playing,” said the world No.2.
“You still have the target on your back and everyone wants to beat you and all that.
“But at the end of the day, this is why we’re here. We want to compete, we want to play against the best players in the world, and I want to win.”
Funny stuff from Caroline Wozniacki on the World Cup fever taking over the locker room.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) June 25, 2018
The 27-year-old has compiled an 18-7 record since Melbourne and has yet to reach another final, with her French Open campaign ending against Daria Kasatkina in the fourth round.
Wozniacki, Eastbourne champion in 2009 and runner-up last year, has higher expectations of herself on the grass.
She won junior Wimbledon in 2006 and has reached the fourth round six times at the All England Club, but is yet to make it through to the quarterfinals.
“It’s so easy for me to come on grass,” said Wozniacki.
“It’s kind of a relief, you know, to be off the clay and on to the grass and then the hard court comes in. I’m happy to be on this surface. Happy to be playing here.”
Karolina Pliskova ended Wozniacki’s hopes of a second Eastbourne title in last year’s final, but the Czech second seed was in danger of an early exit on Monday.
After losing in the first round in Birmingham last week, Pliskova battled past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 2-6 6-3 in Eastbourne.
Despite having won two of her 10 career titles on grass, and possessing one of the biggest serves on the WTA Tour, Pliskova has never made it past the second round at Wimbledon in six attempts.
‘I like hard court the most. Then there is clay. And then there is grass,” said a smiling Pliskova after Monday’s win.
“But, no, I mean, I was playing every year quite solid, I would say. Just Wimbledon was not really working for me. But it can be good, I think, with my style of the game. I feel like I can play well. Still waiting for the result.
“For sure I believe I can go far, so it’s not that I hate the tournament. But maybe we can try better relationship together with Wimbledon and I can play better this year.
“I have a different team there. A lot of things are different than last year. So, yeah, maybe also a little bit luck and I feel like I can play well there.”
Wozniacki’s victory in Melbourne followed by Simona Halep’s French Open win leaves Pliskova seen by many as the best of the current players not to have won a Grand Slam title.
“I feel like I can win, for sure,” said the 2016 US Open finalist. “I was in the finals so why not to go one step further?
“I’m not sure if I can win now, because I feel like I’m definitely not playing my best tennis in the life now, but sometimes you need to survive couple of matches in the first round and everything is possible. We will see. I don’t put any pressure.”
Another leading name yet to win a Grand Slam title is former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, who returned from two months out with back and hip injuries to beat Timea Babos 6-3 6-1.
“I think it’s kind of like a new start, especially on the grass,” said the Pole, ranked No31. “I wish that the grass-court season would be a little bit longer than those few weeks.”
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