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An Interview With: Caroline Wozniacki

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Q. What do you think got you this victory today? What does it mean to you?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, it means a lot to me. You know, the season for me has been a little bit up and down, and it's so nice to kind of start feeling like I'm playing the way I want to. You know, this hard court season has been amazing for me. I actually started already feeling really good on court since Eastbourne. I have just been building on my game since then. You know, today I just kept thinking to myself, Just stay in there. Try and take the initiative. It was really hard. The wind was blowing a lot from one side of the court. So you kind of had to, you know, adapt a lot.

Q. What do you think you're doing especially well that has enabled you to have this hot streak?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm serving well, I'm running well, I'm staying aggressive when I have to, and I make the right decisions at the right moment. And I enjoy playing.

Q. Can you compare this to three years ago when you were rolling along at No. 1 and coming in here and playing well? Is there any comparison at all?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't know. You know, it's a new year and I've gotten older - and hopefully a little wiser (smiling.) You know, I feel good. I feel comfortable when I play out there. The crowd was amazing today. It's just so much fun to play out there again on the big court.

Q. How would your marathon training, if any, help your tennis game?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I think it will help me a lot. Today was a tough battle out there. It was humid; it was hot; I had to change my dress. That rarely happens. It was just soaked. Definitely it's helping, because I felt fresh out there and I felt like I could keep going.

Q. You complained to the umpire Maria takes too long. Did you feel something changed after that or did she take as long as before?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don't know. I just kept focusing, you know. I knew that I was standing against the wind, and I had to really hit through the ball for it to do any damage to her, you know. I kept my head cool and just kept going.

Q. How were you able to turn around the match in that third set? It was pretty remarkable after what we saw in the second set. Was it a mental thing? Was it what you were doing physically? Explain what happened there.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think a bit of everything. I think the first two sets both of us maybe didn't play to our best. Well, she played really well in the second set. She went in and started attacking me, and I came a little bit too far behind the baseline. Even when I was standing with the wind I was a little bit more hesitant. By the end of the second set I just thought to myself, Try to hit through the ball. Just go for your shots. You know, prepare yourself for the third set. You know, when we had that break and I went -- I said, Okay, win or lose, I'm going to go for my shots. I'm going to go for it. This is the only chance I have to win. If I'm going to lose, at least I'm going to do it with dignity, you know, (laughter).

Q. How does this victory rank in your career? Is it up there among the victories that you have had? Of course you have been a finalist here back in 2009.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, definitely it ranks up there. Maria obviously is a tough competitor. She's won here before. She won the French Open this year. You know, it was a really good win for me. Beating her here at the US Open, you know, it's a tough task. I'm really happy to be through and have another chance to play in the next round.

Q. What's the charity you're running for?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm running for Team For Kids, which is a charity to get kids into sports. We start running groups for them so that they can get a healthy lifestyle and set goals for themselves and kind of get together and get sports into their lives.

Q. Way back when you did all that training with boxing and then obviously you were around the golf world for quite a while and now the marathon, in a word, what do you learn from each of those three and which of those three benefits tennis the most?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, I think it's very different. You know, now I'm running the marathon. It's hard work. You know, I run a lot already in my training, so to put those extra miles in, I think it helps my head. Kind of clears my head. I feel more free when I go on court. The boxing, I love the boxing. It's so tough. You know, I always get killed during that training, but, you know, it makes me stronger and I know I can push myself really far. You know, the golf is obviously a mental sport. Sometimes it's the small putts that can make a huge difference. You make a few putts here and there. Again, same with tennis. You make a ball here, there. You know, important points, those are the ones that count.

Q. Were you particularly proud to go out today with a really aggressive winner today? Feel particularly good on match point?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, definitely. You know, I knew that I had to go for my shots again, especially on match points. I knew that I had two chances. I was just going to go for it.

Q. With the number of seeds dropping on the women's side, are you aware of that as you go on court? I know you're not looking past Maria, but in the back of your head is there just some thought as to this is a huge opportunity for all of us?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, not really. I mean, the depth of the women's game now is so high, you know. The level is high. So it's never easy. I knew that I had Maria, so that was my task to kind of complete. I didn't really look further to that. I know I'm playing Sara Errani. Obviously now there are only a few players left so I kind of know who is in my half. It's never easy. It's always easy on paper but never easy in reality. If it was, then all of us would be sitting here as No. 1 in the world and plenty of Grand Slam titles in our pockets. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Q. Setting aside the stage of it being a major, you've played a great summer. Did it feel like with this win over Maria, was this what you needed to maybe show yourself, show others, whatever, where you are and how well you're playing right now?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I have had a great summer. And I told Serena I'm pretty tired of her. Twice she beat me in three sets. I said, Can you just get out of my way? We just laugh about it. This one was a great win for me. Maria, again, is a good player. For me, I think mentally as well to get that in my pocket is kind of nice. You know, I still have hopefully a few good matches in me here in this tournament. It's just exciting to be in the quarters once more.

Q. Have you been training for the marathon here? How long was your last long run?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: You know, I have to say that I feel really guilty because the last few days I have told myself I better just cut down on my running. I have a pretty big tournament here that I kind of want to try and win (laughter). So I actually haven't been running that much. But I'm staying here, staying in New York after the tournament. I'm going to go to the New York Fashion Week, and I'm definitely going to run quite a bit in Central Park after the tournament and keep up my running. I feel the marathon breathing down my neck, and it's like I know that I need to keep preparing. I felt like I ran quite a bit out there in my match, so I think that's decent preparation.

Q. I guess you have spoken to physiologists who have kind of cleared you to run for the marathon. It's tough on the body and the joints, particularly on-the-road running. What have they told you about that aspect tennis-wise?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, tennis is tough on your body. I think all of us wake up every morning and something is hurting. You know, we play on hard courts so much and it takes a beating. But at the same time, I have done a lot of running. I do a lot of running in my training anyway. So I think my team looked and said, Look, she's so excited about this. She's doing it for charity. She's so pumped about it. So they just said, Go for it. You only live once. You know, tick off as many things on your bucket list as possible. They're happy for me.

Q. Was there some moments past couple of years when you were in doubt you could come back at this level?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No. I never doubt myself. I work hard every day. I know I have the levels to compete against anybody, and I can beat anyone on a good day. But as I said, the women's game is really evolving and it gets tougher and tougher.

Q. Maria said that you built on the strength that you have always had in your game as a retriever, but now perhaps you're more consistent at that. What's your evaluation of your greatest strengths right now and how you built on them?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think my greatest strength is I can go from defense to offense and offense to defense. You know, I think I have done a good job these last few months, you know, finding that balance between those two. I think I have served really well and returned well. So I think that's my biggest strength. And I never give up. You know, even when it looks impossible for me to get to a ball, I'm still gonna try.

Q. What do you think will be the key against Sara Errani?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It's going to be a completely different opponent. She's not going to miss very much. I will need to stay aggressive and try and, you know, just go for my shots.

Q. You said that you are going to be here during fashion week. Who are some of your favorite fashion designers?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I have quite a few, but I'm going to go definitely to the Michael Kors show. Serena is having a first fashion show, so I'm going to go and support her and see. You know, she's obviously doing a great job with her designs, as well. Stella McCartney is one of my favorite designers, but she isn't going to be here at the New York Fashion Week. She's going to be in Paris. Yeah, that's just a couple of them. But I have so many that I would like to go see.

Q. When you were complaining that Maria was delaying in that third set, did you have a sense that you were fitter than her and that was going to help you to not let her in on extra points?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I don't know. The wind obviously was a big factor today. I thought that the wind isn't going to die down. We might as well, you know, keep playing.

Q. Elephant in the room question: You were involved in a high profile relationship; didn't work out. Has that given you more determination? Your ex has said how great he's playing golf these days. Is that why you're playing great tennis? Make it easier to train for this marathon?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: To be honest, I don't think that's a relevant question. I'm here to play tennis and I play well. I'm just happy to be here. Whatever is happening off the court is not really relevant here.

Q. There are a lot of players that keep to themselves in the locker room. You're known for putting yourself out there and having a lot of friends on tour. Can you talk about how that impacts you during these long tournaments?

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. You know, we travel and play the same tournaments and we travel with the same women all the time. For me, you know, I have quite a few friends on the tour. I think it's fun to hang out with them. We have a great time. You know, we only live once, so I think it's all about enjoying what we do. You know, we have some great girls on the tour that, you know, just keep it even more fun to be out here. When we're on the court obviously we're competitors and all of us want to win, but, you know, when we're off the court we just have a good time and go out for dinners and talk about different stuff (smiling).

Q. Having been No. 1 in the world, you are of course a very complete player. But you're also called as a counterpuncher. Against Errani, being a counterpuncher is not enough. You have to do different things. What do you think could be the real key? I heard what you said before, but didn't convince me too much (Laughter.)

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't need to convince anybody in a press conference, honestly. The only one I have to convince is out there on the court Sara is a great player. She's going to get a lot of balls back, and hopefully I will be convincing on the court on Tuesday.

Q. No, I'm joking. But before, opponent say today Errani was serving so slow that she couldn't find the ball, and with the wind. So I think it's a nice thing to think about.

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, thank you. Maybe you can be my coach, you know, (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: Any other tips? (Laughter.)

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