Tennis: Wozniacki taking advantage of Serena's absence to climb rankings

Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, hits a return to Ekaterina Makarova, of Russia, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

After nursing an ankle injury that kept her out of action for most of last year, Caroline Wozniacki believes her improved form this year bodes well for her qualification for the WTA Finals.

Currently ranked world number 5 in singles, Wozniacki is currently fifth in the Race to Singapore leaderboard. She last made an appearance at the year-end tournament in 2014. This year’s edition will be held from 22 to 29 October at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Wozniacki has made the finals of six WTA tournaments this year, but has yet to clinch any silverware. The Dane was also a quarterfinalist at the French Open, falling to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko.

In an email interview with Yahoo News Singapore, Wozniacki shared that she is still hopeful of making the Singapore tournament, and also shared what it was like to bare it all for ESPN’s Body Issue.

Compared to this time last year, how would you assess where you’re at in terms of how you’re doing at tournaments?
Well, I think I’m doing great. Last year, I was coming off an injury and I didn’t play at the Rogers Cup (in mid August) because I was injured. So it’s a big difference and I’m very happy that I’ve managed to pull my way back up. I’m just going to try my best to make it to Singapore.

What were some of the goals you set out for this year? What have you achieved so far?
I just enjoy playing – you’ll never know how long you’re going to be out there for, so I’ve just been enjoying the tennis this year and having fun.

Is it weird not having Serena Williams around on the tour? From a competitor’s perspective, how are you taking advantage of her absence?
I love having Serena having around – she’s a great friend of mine. I love having her around and we can do dinners and hang-out. I miss that. When she’s in shape and she’s playing her best, she’s very hard to beat. Now that she isn’t playing, I am trying my best to take advantage of the draws.

What do you remember about your previous trips to Singapore – anything memorable that you did or any special places you visited?
Singapore is a great city and I really like it there – the crowd is awesome and playing indoors is always special. Singapore also has great shopping, good restaurants and I’m looking forward to going back there for the 2017 WTA Finals.

Photo: ESPN

What was the most memorable and intimidating thing you did for the ESPN Body issue photoshoot?
Well, it was intimidating to be fully naked, but at the same time, it’s a shoot that I can be proud of and I think it turned out strong. We should be proud of our bodies – we work hard for them every single day, and my body is a tool of mine. Right now, all I care about is keeping my body healthy, and it can help win matches and trophies.

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