By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Caroline Wozniacki def. Simona Halep 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4
  • Talks about turning point in the tournament, and how she can finally lay the label of ‘Slamless No. 1’ to rest
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Caroline Wozniacki can finally lay to rest a question that has dogged her since she first reached the World No. 1 ranking in 2010.

 

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With both finalists under the age of 30, Caroline Wozniacki 27 years of age, Simona Halep just a year behind, it is strange to consider that six years ago, Wozniacki was dominating the rankings as a World No. 1, rewarded for amazing consistency on the WTA tour.

Yet detractors would focus solely on her lack of major titles, and for years she (along with Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina) suffered the jibe of being a ‘Slamless No. 1.’

After an epic final where Wozniacki rendered Halep’s third attempt to gain a major title as futile, she could finally lay that criticism. She said, in an ebullient press conference, thanks to the Australian Open supplying glasses of fizz to champion and journalists alike for a toast (you don’t get THAT at Wimbledon!):

“Honestly, I think that’s one of the most positive things about all of this. 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.”

The match had perhaps not been such a war of attrition for Halep as her match against Lauren Davis, but her epic semi-final against 2016 champion Angelique Kerber had left the soon-to-be former World No. 1 completely gassed.

Simona Halep in the final of the Australian Open, 2018

Simona Halep in the final of the Australian Open, 2018 | (PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

MORE: Australian Open 2018 | Halep: Mind was ready, body failed as she is edged for the Slam title.

Wozniacki said: “I was thinking, If I am tired right now, I know one of my strengths is my speed, obviously my fitness, I know she’s tired, too, so… Every time I was like, Oh, I can’t do this anymore, I’m exhausted, and we were playing all these crazy long rallies, I was thinking, Okay, I’m looking over there, she looks a little tired, she must be feeling the exact same way or maybe more tired than me.”

Wozniacki had spent far less time on court, although had one foot out the door against Jana Fett, and that seemed to be the turning point for her,

“From being almost out of the tournament to sitting here with the Australian Open trophy, it’s amazing. 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.”

Although Wozniacki is scheduled to compete in St. Petersburg, it is likely she will next appear on the tour in Doha.

 

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