U.S. Open: Caroline Wozniacki hunting for first major
Caroline Wozniacki admits that her boyfriend has something she wants.
Golfer Rory McIlroy owns a U.S. Open championship, while Wozniacki is still seeking her first major tennis title.
“You know, he has something I’m looking for and I have something he’s looking for,” Wozniacki, the No. 1 seed at the U.S. Open, said yesterday following her 6-3, 6-1 victory over unseeded Nuria Llagostera Vives of Spain. “He wants to be No. 1. So it’s good to have something on each other.”
Despite being the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world for 46 consecutive weeks, Wozniacki isn’t the favorite to win in Queens.
That would be Serena Williams, a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion who is seeded No. 28.
“[Wozniacki] is not going to win a Grand Slam until she gets a big shot,” Australian tennis legend Fred Stolle told American Express radio during Wozniacki’s match. “She doesn’t have that big shot that she can get cheap points with.”
Wozniacki, a 21-year-old Dane, is the daughter of Polish immigrants and comes from an athletic family. Her mother, Anna, played on the Polish women’s national volleyball team and her father, Piotr, played professional soccer. Wozniacki’s older brother Patrick plays pro soccer in Denmark.
Yet Wozniacki uses a defensive style that relies on outlasting her opponents from the baseline.
She finally closed out Llagostera Vives on her fourth match point, not with a crushing forehand winner, but with an error by her opponent at the net.
Against Llagostera Vives, Wozniacki hit 22 winners and made 17 unforced errors. Her opponent hit 14 winners against 28 unforced errors.
The question is, can Wozniacki beat the game’s top power players while maintaining her defensive style?
Wozniacki has experimented with a more aggressive style, rushing the net at Wimbledon before losing in the fourth round to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovokia.
Wozniacki even met with 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova, a tremendous serve-and-volley player in her heyday, about potentially coaching her.
“I was thinking about it at one point and we talked and everything, but there were a few things that didn’t work out, and as well on the scheduling,” Wozniacki said.
Now Wozniacki is working with a “mystery coach,” whose identity she won’t give up.
“I have to respect him as well,” Wozniacki said, adding that she’s been in touch with the coach during the Open. “So if he wants to be in the background and not have his name out, I have to respect that.”
She concedes that she would like to “add a few more things” to her game, but isn’t overly concerned about what critics say.
“They can say what they want,” she said. “I’m the type of player I am. I’ve won a lot of tournaments. I’m No. 1 in the world, and of course I can still improve.”
And maybe one day she will improve to the point that she wins a major championship. Just like her boyfriend.
Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter @AdamZagoria.