Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki says that Serena Williams’ comeback will force the current top-ranked players to raise their games at the French Open.
The former world number one will be looking to build on her long-awaited maiden Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne, but she has never reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
Despite being in the opposite half of the draw to three-time champion Williams, Wozniacki knows that Serena’s presence as an unseeded player will put pressure on her rivals.
“I think it’s always great to have the best players play, and it raises your level,” said the Dane.
“You have to play your best level, and I think having someone like Serena back, it’s keeping us all on our toes and we have to keep improving all the time.”
Wozniacki finally claimed her first major title this year, and admitted that it has lifted a weight off her shoulders.
“I think the biggest difference is really when I’m in here in the press conferences,” she said.
“I think that’s the biggest difference, because I’m not getting asked anymore, you know, what it takes to be a Grand Slam champion, why I haven’t gotten there yet.
“It feels amazing to have that with me now, and hopefully I can build on that.
“We have three more Grand Slams left this year, and this is the first one after Australia and I’m going to try and do my best to go as far as I can.”
Wozniacki is the second seed in Paris, behind only Simona Halep, who she beat in the Australian Open final and is still searching for a Grand Slam crown.
The 27-year-old showed improved form on clay 12 months ago when she was beaten in a tight quarter-final by eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko.
“I think I have proven myself that I can actually play on this surface, and, you know, it’s all about trying to get the timing and trying to get the head right, really,” she said.
Before the start of the tournament on Sunday, though, Wozniacki will be cheering on her beloved Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final, and she’s hoping the Premier League side’s fearsome attack can see off holders Real Madrid.
“Obviously Mo Salah has been playing incredibly and (Roberto) Firmino as well.
“There is a lot of attacking going on and a lot of goalscoring. I think when they play on their highest level they can beat everyone. It’s going to be exciting tomorrow.”