Quite a monologue from Kim about the world #1
INTERVIEW-Tennis-Wozniacki must be smart to realise potential -Clijsters
By Alastair Himmer
MELBOURNE | Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:56am GMT
MELBOURNE Jan 20 (Reuters) - World number one Caroline Wozniacki must make smarter choices if the young Dane is to vindicate her ranking with a first grand slam title, Kim Clijsters says.
Belgian Clijsters, who reached the top of women's tennis in 2003 before making her grand slam breakthrough, believes the 20-year-old needs to cut down on her punishing schedule.
Wozniacki has come under pressure in the media for reaching the top ranking without winning a grand slam title.
"Somebody will always be targeted for that," Clijsters told Reuters in an interview at the Australian Open On Thursday.
"Is it unfair? It's not something that happens out of the blue or that's only her. I was in the same situation. I was younger than Caroline probably and you have to deal with it!"
Clijsters recalled former number one Dinara Safina came in for similar criticism, while on the men's side Marcelo Rios felt the heat.
"The only thing that worries me with her is that she plays so many tournaments," said the third seed after crushing Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3 to reach the third round.
"I wonder when it's really needed and when she needs to play her best that maybe she can't always produce."
Wozniacki played 22 tournaments, winning six, in 2010, double the number Clijsters played, but her best grand slam result to date was a semi-final at last year's U.S. Open.
Clijsters, who won that tournament to win her third grand slam title, added: "So I wonder maybe it's not the smartest choice (to play so many events).
"You need to peak and make goals and not worry about money or points here and there. But it will happen. She's young, she'll learn."
Showered and perched on a chair in her tracksuit in the bowels of Rod Laver Arena, Clijsters had some sympathy for Wozniacki's position.
"Dealing with that pressure is not always that easy," said the 27-year-old. "After a while you start doubting yourself just because of what you have to answer in the media.
"I do feel that (she's) very close. She hasn't been on the tour for many years and she's already at number one.
"She will gradually grow into that role where she's on top of the women's game and winning grand slams, or a very big contender."
Clijsters looks the player mostly capable of blocking Wozniacki's path to a maiden slam, although the Dane has so far kept the wolves at bay with some clinical tennis in Melbourne.
"I know if I play close to my best I can beat anybody but saying that is a lot easier than obviously doing it," the 2004 Melbourne finalist said of her own form.
"I know from the U.S. Open that is takes a lot out of you winning seven matches. I've lost matches where I've felt that I was playing well -- anything can happen.
"I went to bed with (Roger) Federer two sets to love up last night. You never know what can happen."
Federer needed five sets to see off Frenchman Gilles Simon.
'MORE TO LIFE'
Clijsters, who won two of her major crowns after returning to the women's game in 2009 following a two-year-break, said she had learned to cherish her grand slam appearances.
"A lot of times I think back on Wimbledon, walking in there for the first time as a junior and I still think of those kinds of emotions. I depend a lot on them," she said.
"Little details that you remember. It could even be the little cracks of a door, different sounds of doors or locker rooms, just little things."
Clijsters, who gave birth to her first daughter Jada in February 2008, added: "I've been away a few years. I didn't think about tennis in those two years.
"You grow as a person and you learn more about yourself. Sometimes I see girls cry after a match. Okay, I get disappointed too but there's more to life for sure."