Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki is banking on this week’s Auckland Classic in to help her shake out the cobwebs for a 2017 grand-slam tilt.
The 26-year-old former world No.1 endured a miserable 2016, exiting in the first round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but hit form with a semi-final exit at the US Open.
Wozniacki, the 2015 Auckland runner-up, also won late-season tournaments in Japan and Hong Kong.
With the ankle and wrist injuries that blighted last year’s tour behind her, Wozniacki said she felt fresh and ready for a shot later this month at the Australian Open.
But first she’d need to prepare in the right way, starting in Auckland.
“I’ve never won this tournament but I hope to just get a good start into the year, get the rust off and that’s basically what I’m aiming for,” the 19th-ranked Wozniacki told reporters.
“It’s very chilled and it’s a good atmosphere and crowd.”
Wozniacki, typically the centre of attention wherever she goes, has flown in under the radar this week as the Williams sisters dominate headlines.
She said the change of pace hadn’t altered anything for her, as she geared up for a first-round clash with American and close friend Nicole Gibbs.
Wozniacki said the California-based Gibbs, 23, would be a tough proposition.
“It’s going to be a good challenge to start the year – there aren’t going to be a lot of free points.”