AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki is treating her final push just like any other she's experienced throughout her storied career -- even though her retirement from the sport is just weeks away.
"I’ve prepared exactly the same," the Danish superstar told the media in advance of her final WTA International tournament, the ASB Classic in Auckland, on Sunday.
Wozniacki announced in December that the Australian Open, which begins in two weeks, will be the final event of her storied career.
"I’ve prepared 100 percent, the best that I could, and I’m just going to go out there and try and finish on a high," Wozniacki stated. "It’s really no different. I need to be in the best shape, I need to do everything possible to give myself the best chance."
"I would love to go all the way," the Dane said, as she surveyed her chances in New Zealand. "It’s obviously a strong field, but I’m excited for it. I’m excited to hopefully get a few matches under my belt, and just fine-tune everything before the Australian Open."
Wozniacki claimed the Australian Open in 2018 for her maiden Grand Slam title, and the year's first major event is an apt location for her to close the book on her tennis journey.
"Obviously, it was something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time," she said. "I just really had to look inside myself, and then it just felt like the right time for me. So, I think it’s never an easy decision to make when it’s something that you’ve done for so many years, but at the same time, I know it’s the right one for me at this point, and in my life, and I’m really excited for what’s next to come."
"Being the first Scandinavian woman to reach No.1 and win a Slam is something very special, something I’m always going to be very proud of," Wozniacki added. "Honestly, I just hope that I’ll be remembered as a very hard worker and someone who’s kind to the people around her."
Even the impending return of another former World No.1 and Grand Slam champion, Kim Clijsters, has not shook Wozniacki's resolve -- although she admits that anything is possible in the future.
"Looking at it now, I definitely think it’s the end, but life has funny ways of working out sometimes," said Wozniacki. "I think if you asked Kim seven years ago, I don’t think she was planning on coming back ever, and here she is making a comeback. I guess never say never, but I am planning on this being my second-to-last tournament."
"Waking up every morning and going to practice and seeing my dad on the court, it’s something that all of a sudden is not going to happen anymore," Woznaicki added.
"That’s something that I was like, 'Well, what does that mean with my family and everything else that kind of comes with it?' But at the same time, we had some talks with David, and we were like, 'Well, it’s just going to be different, but it’s going to be hopefully even cooler that we can do some other stuff together as a family,' which I’m really excited about."
BREAKING | Superstars Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki have confirmed they’ll play doubles together for the first time at the ASB Classic.— ASB Classic (@ASB_Classic) December 22, 2019
With tickets starting from just $19, where would you rather be?
ASB Classic, 6-18 Jan 2020
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Despite the massive changes to come, Wozniacki is fully focused on the Auckland draw. She opens against 22-year-old wildcard Paige Hourigan, a New Zealander and former collegiate star in the United States who is ranked outside the world's Top 400.
"I don’t know much about her to be honest, so we’ll have to check her out," said Wozniacki. "I’m just going to go out there and really just play my own game, think about myself, and do what I’m best at. Hopefully, it’s good enough."
Even though she will play a home hope in the first round, Wozniacki knows that she has "a lot of supporters here, and I’m sure I’ll get a little bit of love as well. I’m just going to go out there and really enjoy it. Obviously, it’s the last time I’m going to be here, so I’m going to go out and just really enjoy myself."
Wozniacki will also form part of a marquee pairing in the doubles draw, when she teams with another former World No.1, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
"I’m just really excited to have this opportunity to play with [Serena]," said Wozniacki. "I started off my career playing doubles with [Serena's sister] Venus, and I get to finish off my career playing with Serena. It doesn't get much better than that. I’m really excited for it."
In her own media conference, Williams added: "It's going to be great. I'm really looking forward to that. We're really good friends, as well. She's one of my best friends. We've never shared the same side of the court together, so it's going to be cool."
In the first round on Monday, Wozniacki and Williams will face the Japanese pairing of Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.
"It's definitely special to play with her in this doubles," Williams continued. "I'm going to miss her immensely. I'm going to be an emotional wreck in Melbourne."