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January 20, 2015

Caroline Wozniacki


C. WOZNIACKI/T. Townsend
7-6, 6-2
An interview with:

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Pretty tough match. What did you make of your performance and hers?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It was a tough match. It's kind of you just want to get through that first round really. You saw yesterday how many seeds went out. You always know that first one, maybe it's not going to be that comfortable. Especially I knew that Taylor has a tricky game because she's a lefty first of all, she knows how to get that serve into your body. She comes to the net, mixes up the pace. So I knew it wasn't going to be the most beautiful game out there from my side. But I just needed to grind it out and just stay with her. I'm happy to be through and on to the next one.

Q. Were there any concerns about your wrist?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, no concerns.

Q. How quickly did you get it better last week? How long did it take?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: You know, I just took it easy with my backhand for a few days. I didn't really want to force it. I didn't want to do anything bad to it. So after that I just started hitting slowly with that left side. Now it feels really good.

Q. Is there any solution to the wrist problems for people in general? Seems like a lot of players have had this issue.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I don't think so. I mean, I don't know what you can do. We do so much to prevent injuries. We do strengthening training, we try and maintain also the left arm as much as the right. We play with racquets that have more power. We change the strings. All of that. But at the same time I think if you hit so many balls, thousands of balls every week, you know, it's going to take a toll on the body. Sometimes you hit it maybe not the cleanest, then that kind of aggravates it a little bit.

Q. Is the speed of the game getting beyond what the body can handle?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: The speed of the game keeps on increasing. I think we see that all the time. I think that's going to be a big factor as well in the future. If the game keeps going this way, if the ball keeps being light, fast, the courts are fast, I think we're going to see more injuries in the future.

Q. What are your thoughts on playing Victoria in the second round? Tough player to be meeting so early?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, it's going to be tough. She's won here before. Not the easiest on paper. But at the same time I'm just going to focus on myself, my own game. Honestly, whether you have to beat her in the second round or fourth round, whatever, doesn't matter if you want to win the tournament.

Q. How far back would you go with her as a player?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I've known her since juniors. I think back when we were maybe 13, when she was 14, somewhere around that. We've known each other for over 10 years. We've competed for a very long time. So we go way back.

Q. Do you remember how things worked out at the very beginning when you played her?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think it's always been like we've both gotten wins here and there.

Q. What about your friendship with her right now? I know that you sort of connected last spring a little bit.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: We've always been pretty close. You know, I think there's times, periods where you spend more time together, periods where you don't. Friends, you know your best friends, when you don't talk to them for a few months, all of a sudden you talk, it's like you've seen each other yesterday. She's a fun girl to be around. There's always loads to talk about. Yeah, I'm glad to see her back.

Q. Do you think your friendship with Serena the last few months has taught you anything about competing against a friend at the highest level?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think quite a few of the girls that are on tour, we used to play with in the juniors. We were friends back then. We've been competing, playing against each other all the way through the ranks here. I think whenever you play on tour, whenever you're on court, you just want to win, doesn't matter who is on the other side.

Q. Last year there were the four different winners of the slams. Do you expect this year to be as open? Do you think there's lots of contenders?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think there's lots of contenders. I think the depth of the women's game, I mean, has increased immensely. I think just looking back five, six years ago, you knew that the first few rounds were going to be easy-ish, so you knew you could get yourself into the tournament. Now you have tough first rounds even. Again, yesterday is a great example. A lot of the seeded players went out. There's a lot of young talent coming up. Taylor is definitely one of the young talents to look out for in the future as well. She's strong, has good hands, good serve. So, you know, we always need to be prepared from the first match on.

Q. Do you think it will be tougher even now when compared to when you got to No. 1?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think to become No. 1 is always extremely difficult. You need to be better than anyone else for a full year. Doesn't matter when, it's going to be extremely tough.

Q. When you see somebody like Bouchard who is just 20, that group of players, not that you're getting old, but do you and Victoria feel you're a bit above that generation coming up?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I'm 24 now, so I'm extremely old (smiling). I wouldn't go that far to say I'm a generation above. I think that's stretching it a little bit. I've been on tour for a few years now, I've been here quite a few times. I definitely like I've gotten experience. It's nice to be back, kind of knowing what to expect.

Q. In what ways is that experience an advantage against those kind of players?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It's definitely an advantage because you have been in situations like this more often. Yeah, I've lost matches that I should have won. I've won matches that I should have lost. All of that kind of gets together and you know when you really need to step it up during a match. Sometimes obviously it's not going to go your way. At least you know when you need to step up your game, when it's important, when to push your opponent even more.

Q. Do you think today you've done quite well? You saved a lot of difficult moments during the first set, then you stepped up in the tiebreak. The second set was relatively easy.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I think definitely the experience helped me today. I didn't maybe feel the most comfortable out there on the court, as I said before. At the same time I knew that at some point she's going to start thinking and I need to take advantage of that. Whenever I see her hesitating a little bit, I need to step it up, I need to get more returns in, I need to serve better. In the tiebreaker, I did so. In the second set I broke her pretty early and then I felt more comfortable.

Q. Do you expect to see Vika back in the top 10 by season's end?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't know. It's hard to say. I think I'll have a better answer after my next match against her. I saw her play a little bit. Obviously she's a great player. She's been in the top 10. She's definitely going to climb the ranks. A lot of injuries can happen. A lot of things can happen. There's so many great players out there. It's not easy. Getting to the top ten is definitely difficult. I think for her the most important is to stay injury-free.

Q. Would you be disappointed if it wasn't a Rod Laver match? Would you prefer to play at night?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: As long as I win, I can play on Court 18, I don't care. But obviously it's fun to play on the big stadium. It's an honor whenever you're put on the biggest courts. That's what you practice for. That's where you want to be.

Q. How much confidence would you take from a win over Vika in the second round?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'll take confidence in any win I get. I'm looking forward to a good match hopefully. We'll take it from there.

Q. I have a question about your favorite football team. Where do you stand on Liverpool letting Stevie Gerrard go?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm obviously sad. I think Stevie has done so much for the team over the years. He's a legend. I think if that's what he thinks is the right time, I have to support that.

Q. But you want him to stay?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. But at the same time he had a talk with the manager and said that maybe he wasn't going to be playing as much. Yeah, I'm a little sad. I don't know. I'm going to have my Stevie G jerseys hanging somewhere. Unfortunately he won't be playing there anymore. I'll have to make a trip probably to L.A. to have a look again. But, yeah, 17 seasons, 17 years, it's a long time.
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