Caroline Wozniacki 13-01-19 interview

Interviews

Q. A new experience for you, to come in and try to defend a Grand Slam title. Are you trying to remove that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I'm just excited. I think it's a positive to be here as the defending champion. I'm just taking it as a nice, fun challenge. I can't believe it's already been a year. It doesn't feel like it to me.

But, yeah, it's great to be back.

Q. Was there any moment coming back to Melbourne Park that suddenly everything from last year flooded back to you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think my first practice was on Rod Laver, and it was just nice. I felt comfortable straightaway when I hit balls on that court. It was just a good feeling.

Then, you know, you see your photos all over the place, which is cool. So, yeah, it's definitely great to be back.

Q. In terms of the off-season, after Singapore, how much time did you get to relax? How was the pre-season for you? How different was it compared to pre-seasons past?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I took quite a bit of time for myself, just to relax and enjoy. I started just like the previous year December 1st back on court. I'd been doing some gym stuff before then just to keep in shape, make sure I was ready.

But, yeah, I think it was important for me just to leave the racquet behind for a while. That felt great. Other than that, I think I just really just listened to my body, just saw how everything was going. Yeah, I feel good. I'm happy with that.

Q. Can I get your read on where your game might sit at the moment compared to maybe Serena who we haven't seen in action in a while?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don't know. I haven't seen her play a match either, so I don't really know. All I can say is that I feel good. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well. So, yeah, I'm happy with that.

Q. You made a surprise announcement in Singapore about your arthritis. Since that time, have you just kept to the same or have you explored other options? Is it bothering you now?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think you just always try to figure out what's working and what's not, then you listen to the body, you try a few different things.

For me, it's just all the time making sure I get good massaging, good treatments, ice baths, stretching, do everything even more thoroughly than maybe in the past. Then you just listen extra. If you're not feeling good one day, then you take it easier.

But other than that, I feel like it's really individual, I think from person-to-person, how you react to different things. I'm just trying to learn my body, getting to know my body even better. That's really it.

Q. How much of a threat do you see in Ash Barty?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I mean, Ash has been playing really well for the last couple of years already. She has a great game, great hands. She's definitely a really good player.

Q. With arthritis, did you have to make any changes to your game?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No.

Q. In terms of listening to the body, how do you as an athlete kind of tell the difference between it's something more than just your general athletic fatigue of things? It seems like a hard thing to figure out.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think especially as an athlete, you're even more aware of it. You know your body even better. So I can tell the difference. It's kind of hard to put into words, but I can definitely tell the difference whether it's just soreness from training or soreness from that, so...

Q. When you say you can tell the difference, if you look back now, how long do you think you've had this condition?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Probably a little while. But I probably just thought I've just overtrained, overdone it a little bit. So it wasn't until I really had a big flare-up that I really was like, Okay, there's something not quite right.

But quite a while, I would say. I can't really put a date on it.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did in the off-season that was fun, maybe not preparing for this year?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, we went to the Maldives for a little bit, which was awesome. I really enjoyed that. Then we went to Europe for a little bit. We went to a Liverpool game. We went to Anfield, which is awesome. They won. Then just spent some time with our friends and family, went to Necker Island, which was great also.

Other than that, just been training and having fun with my nephew. Yeah, just kind of taking it easy.

Q. In terms of we've had two pretty significant retirement announcements the last couple months with Aga and now Andy. From your perspective, the Radwanska news I think surprised a lot of people at the time, she's a good friend of yours, a peer, what is it like seeing these announcements fly by?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I don't think it surprised me as much as it surprised everyone else. Obviously I've been talking to her a lot even last year. Then she obviously, when she made the decision, let me know before she let everyone else know.

It's kind of weird because I grew up playing with her. We played juniors together. I think we played the first time against each other when I was eight and she was nine, something like that. It's kind of crazy that all of a sudden she's not on tour any more.

She doesn't seem to be missing it right now. She's having a blast. She's enjoying her life. I think she's skiing right now. Yeah, I think everyone I feel like knows when it's time and when it's right. She was fortunate enough that she could kind of stop on her terms, which I think is much different than Andy.

I think it's sad, I'm sad on behalf of Andy because Andy is so fun for me to watch. I think he's entertaining. He's such a great athlete. He stood up for us, too. I really appreciate what he's done for women's tennis.

I talked to him a little bit yesterday actually, ran into him at the hotel. It's never fun when it's not on your terms. He loves the game. You can tell how passionate he is about it.

But I guess you can't do anything about it. That's sports sometimes. You can't help when your body says it's enough. Sometimes life is more important, although it seems hard at that time.

Q. What are your thoughts on your first-round matchup?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Tricky opponent. She plays aggressively, has a big serve. I have to go in and play aggressive myself, get a lot of returns back, serve well. Yeah, make her move.

Q. Just from a season perspective, are there any specific goals? Is the No. 1 ranking a motivation?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Not really. I think for me, every time I step into a tournament, I want to win it. I feel like I have a chance to win it, but I have to play my best game.

Honestly, I just want to hold the trophies. That's really it.

Q. When you went to Anfield, did you speak to any of the officials, have any discussion with anyone?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: No, I was just there as a supporter. We were lucky enough to get good seats. They took good care of us. But, yeah, we just came to watch the game, then we left and hung out with all the other supporters.

Actually, if you ever go, they have great burgers right outside. There's a huge line outside one of them. I'm like, What is this? Apparently they were like, yeah, it's burgers. They had fries, all sorts of stuff. I was like, We have to try it, right, while we're here. It was really, really good.