From Sydney Morning Herald:
Mauresmo sets her sights on No1
by Ben Wyld
Yesterday Amelie Mauresmo planned an early morning trek to Bondi Beach to watch the sunrise across the Pacific Ocean. It's an apt metaphor for the 22-year-old Frenchwoman, who declared she wants to rise to the top of women's tennis and finish 2002 with her first grand slam win.
"I want to be No 1, it's very tough to say to yourself you want to be No 1 but now I can say it," she said.
Next week, world No 9 Mauresmo returns to the scene of her most significant tournament win, the 2000 adidas International, where she defeated three of the world's top five ranked players, including consecutive wins over Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport.
"It was a huge tournament for me," she said. "I wasn't expecting it at all ... it proved to me I was able to play at a top level."
Mauresmo backed up that performance with an upset win over Monica Seles in Sydney last year, on her way to the semi-final which she had to default due to a back injury.
Her game is unique to the women's tour. Not just for that one-handed backhand, but an aggressive all-round game that combines power with a variety of spin to take the ball out of her opponent's strike-zone.
"My versatility is a huge weapon for me," Mauresmo said. "The other girls hit with a lot of power, of course, but there's not a lot of variety in the game.
"I think when I'm able to mix it up, hitting balls at different heights, I can be successful. I'm trying to use it as much as I can."
Mauresmo stands out in this year's field, which is dominated by power hitters and boasts six of the top 10 women in the world and three other past champions.
In the absence of world No 1 Lindsay Davenport, who withdrew from the tournament yesterday with a knee injury, fellow American Jennifer Capriati, the 1993 NSW Open champion, returns to Sydney anxious to recapture the form that carried her to victories at the Australian and French opens last year.
After briefly claiming the No 1 ranking, Capriati laboured to three wins against two losses to close the season.
Defending champion Martina Hingis is making a comeback from an ankle injury and unless the former world No 1 unveils a different strategy to counter stronger-hitting opponents, her tournament drought, which extends back to February last year, is likely to continue.
Serena Williams, and Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, are each capable of posting a tournament win, while 1998 champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario has shown good early-season form at the Hopman Cup.
Wildcard entrant Anna Kournikova comes to Sydney still without a tournament win following her semi-final defeat in Auckland yesterday