Wozniacki can reclaim No. 1 ranking in Dubai
Caroline Wozniacki can reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Kim Clijsters by reaching the semifinals at the Dubai Championships.
Clijsters, who won the Australian Open last month, moved past Wozniacki in the rankings released Monday. But she is skipping this week's tournament, giving the 20-year-old Dane a chance to bridge the 180-point gap and overtake her again.
Wozniacki, however, said Monday she never pays attention to the rankings and felt no difference whether she is No. 1 or No. 2.
''I have no idea. I don't look at rankings,'' Wozniacki said. ''I do my best. If I'm No. 1, that's great. That is what I always practice for. If I'm No. 2, it's still great. I go out there and play and do my best and the ranking comes afterward.''
Wozniacki took over the top spot in October from Serena Williams, who has been out of action since injuring her foot and has seen her ranking fall to No. 12. But the Dane has taken flack because has never won a Grand Slam title.
At the Australian Open, she lost to Li Na in the semifinals.
Ahead of her opening match Wednesday, Wozniacki appeared bored with questions about the top ranking and the quality of the Dubai field, which doesn't including Clijsters nor the Williams sisters, who are both out injured. The rest of the top eight players in the world are at the tournament, however.
''Maybe at least I won't get this question over and over again, 'How does it feel to be No. 1 without winning a Grand Slam?''' she said. ''At least I get over that. I don't feel differently. The sun is shining. I'm still playing the same away. I'm still here to compete in the tournament and trying to win it. There is absolutely no difference.''
She also dismissed suggestions that the field is weaker since it doesn't feature some of the biggest names in tennis. Sixth-ranked Venus Williams won the tournament last year, and Justine Henin recently announced her retirement for the second time because of an elbow injury sustained at Wimbledon.
''Justine, Kim, Venus, Serena. Of course, great champions no doubt about it, great players,'' Wozniacki said. ''It's just not the same anymore ... I think there are so many great players out there. Even when they are fit the other girls, it's not sure they'll win all time because there are a lot of good competitors out there.''
Wozniacki said she felt strong coming into Dubai but was also not overconfident despite being the top-seeded player. She will face either Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia or Anna Chakvetadze of Russia. Hantuchova won the Pattaya Open earlier this month.
''I'm feeling really comfortable and really looking forward to playing. I'm in good shape. I'm in good form,'' Wozniacki said. ''It's a really tough tournament because almost all the top players are playing. I just have to go out there and give it a shot and we will see.''
Several of the players in Dubai, including fourth-ranked Francesca Schiavone and fifth-ranked Sam Stosur, said Wozniacki will be No. 1 again in the future.
''It's very competitive,'' Stosur said. ''Kim has been (knocking) on that door for a little while and has won the last two Grand Slams that have been played. But having said that, Caroline didn't buy her points. She's gone out there and played every week and reaped the rewards. She hasn't won a Grand Slam yet but she's won a hell of a lot of other tournaments, all of the other big ones that we play.''
Schiavone, who lost to Wozniacki at the Australian Open, agreed.
''When you are No. 1, it's not a joke,'' Schiavone said. ''You have to play amazingly well and play six, seven tournaments in a row and she won everything. And to do this at (20) years old. She has a great mental ability and she has matured.
''She will be back to No. 1 because she believes in herself and she has all the qualities to do it.''