Thursday, January 20, 2011
Henin and Wozniacki want title not ranking.
Between them they possess seven Grand Slam titles and the world No.1 ranking.
But both Justine Henin and Caroline Wozniacki know all that counts for little as each battles for the Australian Open crown over the next week and a half.
In the second round at Melbourne Park, each put up compelling arguments as to why they will have their name engraved on the 2011 trophy.
The big name pair breezed into the third round of the women's draw with convincing wins, and are eyeing their next opponents.
Wozniacki - the world no.1 despite never having won a grand slam title - is just 20.
The Dane showed how much talent she possesses in casting aside American Vania King 6-1 6-0. The dismantling took just 58 minutes.
Henin, the winner of seven grand slam titles including the 2004 Australian Open title, had a similar urge for a quick kill on day three.
The Belgian, now 28, may have faced slightly sterner opposition in the form of Brit Elena Baltacha, but the 6-1 6-3 win was emphatic enough.
Henin and Wozniacki, two of the tournament's top fancies, may be in contrasting phases of their careers but both have a thirst for the title.
Not that either woman was giving too much away after their wins.
Wozniacki, still young in tennis terms, is trying to kick-start her career with a maiden slam to silence the knockers.
Beating up on opponents like King won't be good enough forever. She needs five more victories at Melbourne Park.
"I'm just taking one match at a time and we're going to see what's going to happen," Wozniacki said.
"You know every time I step onto court I just want to play better.
"I believe that I'm a really good player (and) I can beat anyone on a good day."
Henin, the tournament's second favourite with bookmakers behind fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters, isn't fazed by her world ranking of 13, or Open seeding (11).
She knows success at major tournaments is more important.
"I never think about rankings, actually," Henin said afterwards.
"I know what I did in the past, and of course I would like to improve and get better. But my focus right now is to take care of myself (and) be in the best condition."
Like the No.1 seed, Henin said she too wasn't yet thinking about adding to her trophy cabinet.
"Anything can happen and there are so many factors that we don't control all the time, so it's very, very early to talk about that," she said.
"It's not only about the Australian Open, it's not only about 2011, it's about a few years that I want to build this second career.
"I worked very hard last year and I hope this year I'll get the confidence step by step."