Eleni Daniilidou will be five matches away from a slice of tennis history when she starts her defence of the ASB Classic title in Auckland on Monday.
The top-ranked Greek player has won the singles crown at the last two classic tournaments.
A third victory would put her in a league of her own since the tournament was restarted as a separate entity in 1985.
Australian legend Evonne Goolagong did the hat-trick when the Auckland men's and women's tournaments were under one umbrella in the early to mid-1970s.
Daniilidou, 22 and the world No 34, has had a patchy year. She was plagued by injuries to her thigh, ankle and knee and was twice sidelined by bouts of sickness.
"That can happen," she said.
"But to be honest I was not very happy with my season. In the last few months I've worked hard and I hope success will come and my ranking will improve."
Daniilidou, who has won more than $US1.1 million ($NZ1.56 million) in prizemoney, did not expect to win this year's event - her straight sets win over American Ashley Harkleroad in the final in January followed a three-set victory over Korea's Yoon Jeong Cho 12 months earlier - and believes she is in a better frame of mind for next week than she was then.
"This is a tough month, but it's the same for everyone, because you have to find your rhythm again," she said.
"You need something inside to push you to win. There are so many new players, everyone is fresh and fit, some people will have improved but you don't know until you see them."
Daniilidou's highlight of 2004 was being involved in the Athens Olympics, the pride felt at being part of the extravaganza on home soil slightly tarnished by injury.
She reached the last 16, despite being hampered by a thigh injury, before losing to French Open champion Anastasia Myskina.
"It was special for the Greek athletes. It was a great atmosphere and I will never forget it."
Her goal for next year is to break into the world top 10. She knows she can improve her fitness and sharpen her game mentally.
"I play very good against the top players. On one hand that makes me very happy, but on the other hand, when I am not playing the top players I find it hard to reach my limit," she said.
"In my mind I have to think about winning tournaments, especially this one, and not just playing one or two matches in each tournament."
Daniilidou will be the fourth seed for the classic, behind American Amy Frazier, Serbian Jelena Jankovic and the main drawcard, two-time grand slam champion, Mary Pierce, of France.