MELBOURNE, Australia - For Caroline Wozniacki, lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and being crowned the 2018 Australian Open champion was the ultimate full circle moment.
It’s a spectacular turnaround considering the Dane was almost out of the tournament in the second round, having to save match points against upstart Croat Jana Fett. Now, she’s come out of the fortnight with her maiden Grand Slam title after defeating World No.1 Simona Halep in three tight sets.
“From being almost out of the tournament to sitting here with the Australian Open trophy, it's amazing,” Wozniacki told press after her victory in the final. “It's been quite a turnaround, something I'm very proud of. At the same time, I think it really was a great momentum shift for me going further into the tournament after that.”
Apart from ending Wozniacki’s excruciating 12-year wait to add ‘Grand Slam champion’ to her resume, the victory has an even sweeter prize: the Dane will overtake Halep as the new WTA World No.1, returning to the top exactly six years to the date as when she last held the ranking.
But even Wozniacki admits she’s just happy she’ll never hear the words ‘Slamless No.1’ ever again.
“Honestly, I think that's one of the most positive things about all of this,” Wozniacki joked of the moniker that dogged her 67 weeks at the top. “I'm never going to get that question again. I'm just waiting for the question, ‘When are you going to win the second one?’
“Right now I'm just happy I have this one, and I'm going to really enjoy this moment… I think being new Grand Slam champion and World No.1 sounds pretty good. It's a dream come true.”
She recalled entering the 2016 US Open ranked No.74 in the world and battling injury after injury, and how having the strength to overcome that adversity propelled to reach the top once again.
“I think you always, at certain points, especially when you start having injuries and stuff, you start maybe doubting if you're ever going to be 100% healthy for longer periods of time,” she admitted.
“But I think last year, already for a year and a half, I've proved that I can beat anyone out there on court. When you're in the finals, I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous before going out there on court, but once I kind of settled in and we had the warmup, I was just, like, I have everything to win.
“In the end of the day, whatever happens happens. I'm going to go out fighting. If it's not enough today, then it is what it is, but I'm going to be proud of my effort.”
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This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.