Wozniak Plotting Route Back To The Top
Published August 14, 2012 11:59
MONTRÉAL, Canada - As a young girl, every other summer, Aleksandra Wozniak would make the journey from her family home in Blainville, Montréal to the Stade Uniprix to watch her idol, Monica Seles, in action at the Canadian Open.
Seles' dominance of the tournament during the mid-1990s - she lifted the trophy every year between 1995 and 1998 - meant that Wozniak's childhood memories of the sprawling tennis complex were mostly happy ones.
The same cannot be said for her experiences of the venue as a professional. Since graduating from spectator to participator, Wozniak's appearances in front of her home fans have all culminated in early round exits. Until this year, that is.
Finally shorn of the tendinitis in her playing arm that contributed to her slipping out of the Top 100, the 24-year-old has been upwardly mobile in 2012 and last week shook off her Rogers Cup hoodoo to become the first Canadian to reach the quarterfinals there in 20 years.
Wins over Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Jankovic and Christina McHale were the latest signs that Wozniak is returning to the sort of form that took her to a career-high ranking of No.21 several summers ago. And now back in the Top 50 once again after a 25-month absence, she is intent on getting back to the very top.
"I feel like I'm back on track," Wozniak said. "I missed 10 months of tennis, from July 2010 to April 2011, because of the tendinitis in my right arm and I had really slipped in the standings.
"It was discouraging not to be in the Top 100. But I feel I am really close to my level from then and I want to beat my best career ranking from 2009."
Wozniak's Rogers Cup run was finally ended by her bête noire, Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated her for an eighth time in nine meetings, 64 64. Although the closeness of the scoreline has left the Canadian in little doubt that she is heading in the right direction.
"I lost to a great player. Hopefully next time it's going to be mine against Caroline," she added. "I went after my shots, did everything I could, I missed by not much.
"My game, my sense of game is coming back, and my confidence. I feel really good on the court and I feel like I'm coming back, on my way up. It's encouraging."
However, despite her lofty goals, Wozniak is just happy to be fit once more, playing well and entertaining the crowd that not so long ago she was in amongst.
"After my injury I was not sure I would be able to come back at that same level. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do that," she said. "Now I feel healthy, my confidence is rising, and I believe my level is almost as perfect as before.
"This tournament is so important to me. When I was a little girl, I used to come here with my parents. It's unbelievable that I am now here as a professional. I accomplished that dream.
"It's a beautiful week to reach the quarterfinals, but I wanted it to go on and I'm sad that it had to stop there. But I hope next time there will be another day and another match."