By Jim Fuller special to EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com
Four-time defending New Haven Open champion Caroline Wozniacki may hail from Denmark, but she feels right at home when she comes to New Haven. She recently sat down with EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com to talk about her hopes for the New Haven Open, the US Open and beyond.
Q: A lot of players like to take a week off before a major but you've obviously had a lot of success coming here, what it is about playing the week before that suit you before a Grand Slam?
Wozniacki: I don't know; everybody is different. I think it is very individual of who likes to play what and how many tournaments they like to play. For me, I just enjoy it here so I think 'why not come here?' I can practice as much as I want, play your matches and there is no stress of the U.S. Open.
Q: This seems like a home tournament almost when you are walking around the grounds. Can you talk about the reception you get here?
Wozniacki: It is real nice. I really enjoy it here. I think people start to know me as well. It's my fifth time here. My time is going so fast. I don't know where the five years have gone. I am not one of the youngsters anymore; I am almost one of the veterans on tour.
Q: What was it like for you to watch Rory (McIlroy) succeed like he did? Was it motivating for yourself?
Wozniacki: It was great. I am really happy for him and proud of him because of what he has achieved. Winning by eight at the PGA was unbelievable. He definitely enjoys the week of rest he has right now and he's just getting ready for the FedEx Cup.
Q: Going after your fifth championship here do you feel any pressure playing here?
Wozniacki: Not really, you don't really think about it. You think back and go 'wow I have actually won four times here.' It is a great feeling. It is a new tournament and a new year so you just go out there and play.
Q: You are a four-time champion here, what are you going to be able to take to New York?
Wozniacki: I am hoping for some good matches here and just get comfortable because in Cincinnati it is different conditions, different balls and everything feels different. Coming here and getting back on the surface we are playing at the US Open - same balls, you always come in with the mindset of you want to win but if you don't you can always practice here. That is great because you don't get that at the US Open. The last four years have been great I have gotten a lot of matches under my belt and a lot of confidence.
Q: How do you deal with the madness of New York City?
Wozniacki: I love it. I think it is great. I like Manhattan, I like the whole buzz around the US Open but the week before you don't really want it to be like that all the time because you can get tired and start thinking about it too much, too early so it is nice to be here.
Q: Monday starts are usually a little early for you here, how do you feel about playing so early in the tournament?
Wozniacki: Monday is a little early, I think I played my first match on Wednesday the last two years but I had Monday starts the first two years so it has been 50-50. I don't mind. You just have to play it doesn't matter what day you play.
Q: Can you talk about your experiences at the Olympics?
Wozniacki: This was my second Olympics and it was quick different from in Beijing because in Beijing we could stay in the Olympic village and be a part of the team. You really got that whole Olympic experience because you are eating with all the other athletes, the site was very close to the village so you basically walked (to the tennis facility) which was really nice. London was a bit different because the Olympic village was an hour and a half drive from site and we played at Wimbledon where the site was sold out but it wasn't packed, there was a lot of security around and it just wasn't the same feeling. Hopefully in four years in Brazil it will be where we can stay at the village and get that whole team spirit.
Q: How involved are you with Stella (McCartney) and developing your clothes?
Wozniacki: I am quite involved. Already have the collections for next year. I already know what I am wearing for a while and very involved in the designs, the sketches and all the colors. I love it because it really brings out my own personality in the clothes.
Q: What drives you competitively is it getting back to No. 1, winning a major or are you just a competitive person who wants to win at everything you do?
Wozniacki: I am just a competitive person so not matter what I do, if I play cards with my family or monopoly I hate losing. I can be so (upset) if I lose. If somebody loses on purpose to let me win I get even more upset. I am just competitive. I think the whole family is, my brother and especially my dad, he will do anything to win.