Patrick Mouratoglou

Why Wozniacki can win in New York

Patrick Mouratoglou

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I've always been enthralled by the power of trends in the tennis world. Players have such a gift for copying each other at every level.

I signed a representation deal with Caroline Wozniacki when she was 10 years old. I negotiated contracts for her when she was 13 or 14.

During this period, the Williams sisters' domination was at its greatest. They had consigned Martina Hingis to the history books and everybody agreed that in the future, if a player did not have such power, it would be impossible to get to the No.1 spot.

A little woman called Justine Henin then proved that to be nonsense by showing totally different abilities: speed, diversity of shot selection and attacking the ball early.

However back in 2003 tennis did not believe in the Dane.

"Too limited, lacking in power. She'll be top 50 because she's a fighter, but nothing more."

That is what I was told about this young girl, and it did not even change when she became No.2 in the junior world rankings (by which point I had stopped representing her).

So where is she today? No.2 in the world and, heading into the quarter-finals, favourite for the US Open.

So what makes her so special?

She's emotionally steady

As Richard Williams has always told me: players with a huge self-confidence will always be the best. A match can turn on a few details and points, and because players can fall victim to pressure at those moments, their ability to play the best shot at the right time suffers. The more serene among them will always take good decisions when it matters, and Caroline is among this group. She is calm, determined and confident. When Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Dementieva and others are not yet in that mental zone, Caroline is more than ready.

She's a fighter and defender

Caroline is the definition of a fighter. She keeps on fighting on every point, in every situation and she displays the amazing abilities of a counterpuncher. It's stunning to watch how she moves. She's reading the game perfectly so she's able to be early on the ball and that's why it's so hard to get her out of the way. She feels the game pretty well so she can anticipate; it's like she's attracting the ball. She always makes her opponent hit back again and again, so this player ends up taking more and more risks until they miss. What it is important to understand is that a lot of players are playing the same way nowadays and so are very easy to read. Caroline uses this to make them think she cannot be out-powered. Besides, she loves to run and it's often in the long rallies that she finds the way to win. She always knows where her opponent is on the court so she can wrong-foot her.

She's a clever girl

Unlike many of the players, Caroline plays with her brain. She studies the shots of her opponents and sets out a different gameplan depending on who she's up against. She knows how to use her abilities in order to put others under pressure; she knows how to slow the game before then giving it more pace.

She has come on leaps and bounds

A year ago I said she wouldn't win a Grand Slam anytime soon because she wasn't displaying the weapons she needed to get through. But lately she has added a more aggressive side to her game. She's not using it all the time - but it's definitely there. Caroline has improved her serve tremendously, as far as putting more first serves in and giving them greater variety is concerned. Her forehand, which was her weak side, is a lot steadier and she can now attack with it. Overall she's a more complete player: she moves better and hits stronger than before. She looks more confident.

Caroline Wozniacki seems ready to win her first Grand Slam, and has a unique chance to do so with Serena Williams being out. The success of a career is determined by your ability to catch the chances you have; she can start now to sketch her name into tennis history.

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