Wozniacki to emulate McIlroy?
Caroline Wozniacki (File)
Melbourne - Just the mention of Rory McIlroy's name elicited a smile from Caroline Wozniacki.
The top-ranked Dane advanced to the third round at the Australian Open on Wednesday, and there were still three women in the field who had a chance of replacing her at the top of the women's rankings. But instead of the usual questions about how she plans to end her drought at Grand Slam tournaments, she was asked if her boyfriend might be able to help her win her first major.
She smiled, paused, then relayed some of the advice McIlroy offered which helped him overcome similar pressure and win a golf major.
"Well, it's just about you can't really do anything about the past," Wozniacki said. "You just need to look forward. You have a tournament now, and you want to do the best you can. That's it.
"Then if it goes well, it's great. If not, you have the next one. It's like tennis."
McIlroy was considered a major golf talent on the cusp of a breakthrough when he blew a four-stroke lead and lost last year's Masters. He handled it with such humility that it didn't surprise anyone when he rebounded to win the US Open two months later, when he was 22.
Wozniacki has been on the precipice, losing the 2009 US Open final. Since then, she's held the year-end No 1 ranking twice but never returned to a championship match. And she's struck up a relationship with the golfer from Northern Ireland.
The 21-year-old Dane has taken up golf to learn more about the game which she says is more about beating the course than other players.
"Of course, you can learn a lot, because when you're leading or if you have a putt, you know, you make it nine out of 10 times in practice, but it can be really difficult," she said. "It's just a good way to learn the mental state of things in their game as well, and in a way to also try to get some of it over to the tennis."
After racing through the first set in 28 minutes, she had some tough moments in a second-set battle but remained composed to beat Anna Tatishvili 6-1, 7-6 (4). Because of the heat, Wozniacki even sat with a bag of ice on her head to cool off.
She moved into a third-round match against No 31 Monica Niculescu. A win could put her on course for a quarter-final match against defending champion Kim Clijsters.