Caroline Wozniacki says Australian Open win was 'meant to be', looks forward to celebrating with Serena Williams

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Caroline Wozniacki was still “overwhelmed” the day after her historic Australian Open title success and told reporters in Melbourne she felt her maiden Grand Slam triumph was “meant to be”.

The 27-year-old became the first player – man or woman – from Denmark to lift a singles Grand Slam trophy when she defeated Simona Halep in three tight sets in scorching weather on Saturday.

She got just one and a half hours of sleep on Saturday night before she met with reporters at the Royal Botanic Gardens on Sunday morning for a special photo shoot with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial trophy.

“I’m just overwhelmed, excited, happy, a mix of a lot of emotions,” Wozniacki said.


“I’m just soaking it all in. This doesn’t come every day, so when I have this opportunity and have these amazing days – I’m just really thrilled to be here.”








Her friend Serena Williams was one of many athletes who took to social media to congratulate Wozniacki and the Dane is keen to reunite with the 23-time Grand Slam winner to celebrate her maiden success.




“She sent me a great message last night too, just sent me a text. We’re very close. Her support means a lot. We’re definitely going to celebrate once I see her next,” said Wozniacki of Williams, who is set to return from her maternity leave at next week’s Fed Cup tie against the Netherlands.


She added: “I’ve heard from the royal family yes, they congratulated me and are very thrilled for me so that was very exciting.”


Wozniacki saved two match points in her second round win over Jana Fett and came ever so close to packing her bags early and leaving Melbourne.


“It’s a bit of a roller coaster, but after I got through that match I had nothing to lose anymore and I guess it was meant to be,” said Wozniacki.


Her epic battle with Halep in the final lasted two hours and 49 minutes in brutal heat, and the Romanian was reportedly taken to the hospital on Saturday night and was treated for four hours for dehydration before getting released on Sunday morning.


“By the third set I think we were both too exhausted. It was just two warriors out there just trying to be the last woman standing. I think it really helped not to get too nervous closing it out, I was like ‘okay, I’m so tired, you just have a few points more to go’ and that was really my thought. And I thought we both played amazing tennis, Simona’s a great fighter and I’m sure that she’ll have many more opportunities in the future,” said Wozniacki, who was not told about Halep’s condition during her chat with reporters.


“It was warm out there. I think we both felt it, especially towards the end of the third set. We’d been battling for hours out there but I think it made it very special. Australia, we expect the heat, we expect being out there in warm conditions so I think it was a perfect end to the tournament.”



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Roger Federer's unrelenting passion and other takeaways from the Australian Open final

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Roger Federer wrote a new chapter in the history books with his five-set triumph over Marin Cilic at the Australian Open on Sunday.

His sixth success at Melbourne Park saw him join Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson at the top of the all-time list of Australian Open titles and he became the first man and just the fourth player to claim 20 or more Grand Slam trophies.

Here are the main takeaways from yet another successful major for the Swiss…

FED EXPRESS HAS ALL THE FUEL HE NEEDS

In 2009, Federer cried as he addressed the crowd on Rod Laver Arena following a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the final.

With spectators in the stands giving him a standing ovation, Federer was overcome by emotion and could barely speak. “God, it’s killing me,” the then 27-year-old Federer told his admirers.

It is nine years and seven Grand Slam titles later and Federer still treats this sport with just as much passion and emotion.

He was once again in tears on Rod Laver Arena, this time after capturing a historic 20th Grand Slam trophy on Sunday.

At 36, and with countless records to his name, Federer is somehow not yet content. It’s that passion that continues to drive him to keep going.

Cilic says it best when asked what makes Federer such an extraordinary player: “I would say first the passion to compete, season after season, especially at this high level. Then also being able to challenge himself first physically and then mentally, as well, to be at the top almost every single week.”

TIME TO FULLY APPRECIATE MARIN CILIC

No matter his ranking, or the shape he’s in, or the results under his belt, Cilic tends to get less attention than he deserves in the early rounds at the majors and flies under the radar until he’s one of the very few players left standing in the draw.

He’s made the quarter-finals or better in eight of his last 14 Slams, including three finals.

For a Grand Slam champion, Cilic is somehow often overlooked. But he’s earned his place in the world’s top-three now and continues to improve every aspect of his game. He has now made two finals in his last three majors and despite his defeat to Federer on Sunday, will have gained even more confidence from a big fortnight in Melbourne.

RACE FOR NO. 1 HEATS UP

Nadal retained his spot at the top of the rankings despite his quarter-final exit via retirement against Cilic but Federer is breathing down his neck, trailing him by a mere 155 points. Both Nadal and Federer have a lot of points to defend in the upcoming period and it’s going to be a real tug of war for the No. 1 ranking over the next few months. With Federer brimming with confidence and Nadal sidelined for three weeks nursing a leg problem, you’ve got to think the Swiss will finally reclaim that top spot before 2018 ends.

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Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki's father said he wouldn't care if she worked in a supermarket before win

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Caroline Wozniacki won her maiden Grand Slam title on Saturday.

Caroline Wozniacki‘s father told her he would not care if she worked in a supermarket before she went out and won her first grand slam title to become world number one.

Piotr Wozniacki has been his daughter’s primary coach throughout her whole tennis career and shared the long journey that finally led to a first slam trophy at the age of 27 when she beat Simona Halep at the Australian Open on Saturday.

He said: “Normally I’m very nervous but I could eat before Caroline’s match so that was very good.

“I was talking to Caroline, ‘you won’t change my day, you are my daughter, it doesn’t matter if you’re working in a supermarket or number one in the world, this is the same for me’.

“We waited a long time. It was Caroline’s dream from very young, 12 years old, that she would win grand slam or be number one in the world. Today we see it coming in the same moment.

“We beat number one, Caroline’s number one, and win first grand slam so this dream is now reality. Now I hope Caroline can have the next dream.”

A newer member of her team is fiance David Lee, a former NBA star, who lived through every moment of her dramatic 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-4 victory over Halep.

“It was a very high-quality tennis match and to have her come out on top, those last couple of points just show her fighting spirit,” he said. “It just stinks that one of those two had to lose that match because they both played like champions.

“I was more nervous than when I won a championship. Because there’s nothing I can do. Just sitting there and knowing how hard she’s worked and how much she wants it. She has the ultimate dedication and heart but sometimes that’s not enough and it’s very hard to watch as her fiance.

“I know how great a person she is and how hard she works and it makes her so easy to root for. Of course I’m biased but I wanted her to be successful more than anything in the world.”

One of the first people to tweet congratulations was Wozniacki’s long-time friend Serena Williams, who revealed the moment reduced her to tears.

Piotr Wozniacki believes Williams has had a big influence on his daughter’s career and hopes they can stage a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, one of two slam finals Wozniacki had previously lost.

He also recognised that Williams’ absence following the birth of her daughter opened a door, saying: “This is fantastic timing.

“I respect Serena. Serena is a huge idol for me, also for Caroline. They’re very good friends so I see it as only good for tennis that Serena is looking at coming back. Sometimes they speak about tennis, and I believe 100 per cent it has helped Caroline.

“Caroline has won now so I hope they can play a different way. I hope this year Serena and Caroline can play one more time in a final.”

Wozniacki spoke glowingly of Williams’ impact on her, saying: “Serena’s a huge inspiration and obviously what she’s done in women’s sports and women’s tennis is incredible.

“She’s an amazing athlete but I think the most important thing about Serena is that she’s an amazing person and she really has taught me a lot of things. The way she handles herself, the way she thinks going out on the court, it’s taught me a lot and that’s why it’s very special she was supporting me. I’m sure when she decides to come back she’ll be as good as ever.”

Wozniacki was still planning to play next week’s St Petersburg Open but has not thought beyond as to what this first slam trophy could potentially lead to over the rest of her career.

She said: “I think as athletes we don’t enjoy the moments and I really just want to enjoy the moment. Not only am I a grand slam champion – it still seems crazy to say that – but I’m also back to number one. I couldn’t have scripted it any better and I’m very proud of the way I’ve fought to get here.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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