Wozniacki plays down title talk, but aims to break jinx in Istanbul

Wozniacki plays down title talk, but aims to break jinx in Istanbul

Wozniacki plays down title talk, but aims to break jinx in Istanbul

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Caroline Wozniacki says she is happy to be in Istanbul and will try to end her jinx in Turkey at the WTA Istanbul Cup.

The Danish tennis player has made several visits to Turkey as part of her commercial deal with the national flagship carrier, but her playing campaigns in Istanbul have been less than impressive.

Arriving at the WTA Championships as the top-ranked player in women’s tennis in 2011, Wozniacki bowed out of the year-ending tournament with two defeats in three matches. In the remaining two seasons that Istanbul hosted the Championship, she was no longer the holder of the top spot in the WTA Tour, which oversees women’s tennis.

This time, she leads the bill in a solid TEB BNP Paribas WTA Istanbul Cup, which returns after a three-year break.

“It’s nice to be back. I really like Istanbul: it’s a great place and I had some great experiences so I’m glad to be back here,” Wozniacki told a group of reporters in a round-table interview on July 14, a day before her first game.

She played her first game against Belinda Bencic on the evening of July 14. Despite being the top seed at the tournament, Wozniacki has played down her title talk. 

“I just have to wait and see. I haven’t played a tournament since Wimbledon, but I’m excited to play here and hopefully I’ll do well,” Wozniacki said.

After holding the top spot for more than 60 weeks and ending the 2010 and 2011 seasons at the top the rankings, Wozniacki had two troublesome campaigns following her success. Now she is ranked 15th in the WTA rankings and still hoping to qualify for the year-ending Championship in Singapore.

One could be forgiven for forgetting that she is still on the right side of her 20s, and Wozniacki refuses to push the panic button for her recent troubles.

“I think saying something like ‘Things are not going well’ when you’re top 10 in the world is exaggerating things. Things are still going very well. It would be a sin to say things are not going very well,” she said.

She then points to the court while two of her colleagues are playing their first round games before saying: “You can ask thousands and millions of people out there who dream of reaching where I am. And when the media say ‘It is a disaster,’ it is not. If you ask any player out there if they want to finish top 10, I think they would say ‘Yes.’” 

She admitted that it is easier to crawl up the rankings for younger players, however staying there was tough.

“When you’re there, everyone sees you as a target. Everyone wants to find a way to beat you. That’s why there are so few players that reach the top and stay there for a couple of years,” Wozniacki added.

About her plans to return to her best, she had no magic wand.

“It hasn’t been a lucky season so far, but we still have half a year to go, there’s so many things that can happen. Honestly, I just feel that I’m healthy and I’m playing well again and I’m on the right track,” she said.

Known for her lighter attitude toward the game, her opponents and even herself, her character might be helping in her bid for a comeback.

“I don’t take myself too seriously and I think it’s just about enjoying what you do and having some fun both on and off the court … I think that is how I am,” Wozniacki added.