Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What were your thoughts on that?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Well, obviously seeing the draw, it’s like, well, could have had an easier first round (smiling).
She’s a good young player. She mixes up the pace a lot. She kind of tries to bring you out of your rhythm and she has great hands.
You know, I was really pleased with how I was able to just stay focused out there from the beginning. It’s much different conditions here. The ball is flying. The court is faster than in Doha.
I didn’t really know how I was going to play to start off with. Generally, I was pleased with my game. Some serves were flying a little bit. I kind of have to adjust that for tomorrow.
Q. Why do you play so well here?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think because the ball is flying a little bit. And the court is faster.
I feel I can generate a lot of pace. I get to a lot of balls, too, which I think is frustrating for the other players that I can kind of go from defense to offense and really hurt them with that when they play a short ball.
Q. When you do have to make that adjustment, and you just got here, how much confidence does it give you to know that you have the defense? I mean, surface to surface, ball to ball, how do you work your way into it?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: At least I know I can run a lot of balls down. Regardless, I know the opponent doesn’t just get the match from me. She will have to fight.
You know, I start with a bit bigger margins out there, and then I start playing more for the lines when I feel more comfortable. That definitely helps me knowing I have good wheels.
Q. How easy is it for you to mentally adjust from the last match? They were replaying your final when you were preparing for this match.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah. I feel like kind of at the end of last year already I had back-to-backs, and from Tokyo I flew straight after the finals overnight and then landed early morning basically and had to play that day.
It’s tough. You know, you kind of want to enjoy a little bit, but you’re playing well. But, you know, it is a positive problem to have, I suppose. You keep playing (smiling).
Unfortunately I didn’t have a bye which I would have loved right now. I have the same amount of points, I think, as Strycova. I’m not sure quite how it’s calculated. I think they told me it’s because she had played more tournaments than me last year, which doesn’t really make sense.
But anyway, I’m through to the next round. I’m not gonna complain. It’s all right. I’m just gonna grind it out.
Q. Confidence-wise, does this feel like a further continuation of the end of last year, but starting the year brand new rebuilding confidence into 2017?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I feel like I have good confidence. I feel like I had a great offseason. I feel healthy and body was feeling good. Mentally I’m feeling good, as well.
I think that combination, it’s always — you always want to get into the new year, but I think just getting some good matches in Australia, I didn’t reach as far as I wanted to, but I kind of feel like my game was getting where I wanted it to be. And then playing well last week, I feel like I just want to keep going and hopefully I can have a good hard court season now.
Q. I saw Sascha with you in Doha. Are you guys working full time or trying it out?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, we are trying it out a little bit until Charleston, and then from there we both want to see how it’s going and how we feel. But he’s a great guy. He know knows what he’s doing. He brings a lot of positive energy, as well. He’s a hard worker.
I’m enjoying having him on my team, and we had a good start so far. Let’s hope that it continues.
Q. A hitting partner or hitting partner plus?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: He’s a bit of a plus. He helps my dad. He looks at the matches, too. He scouts and, you know, they talk a lot what they feel I can improve on and things like that.
He comes with inputs and practices. He’s definitely a hitter plus. Assistant coach, I guess.
Q. Have you talked to the other girls that he’s worked with? Because you’re kind of quite close to…
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Oh, for sure. I definitely talked to Serena about it, too. Just wanted to hear. And also how she feels about me working with him. You just want to know that you don’t clash.
She said he’s a very hard worker, and she has nothing bad to say about him. She likes him a lot.
Q. So he comes with good references?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Definitely (smiling).
Q. What do you know about your next opponent?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Honestly, nothing. I saw her name I think at a tournament somewhere last year at the end of last year. I think she played the finals, but that’s basically it.
I know how she looks like, but I don’t know anything about her game. I will have to just scout some matches and go from there.
Q. There is quite a few teenagers at this tournament. I was wondering, do you pay much attention to the younger generation and has anyone impressed you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I think they are a really good young bunch. You know, Osaka, if she can stay healthy, I think, is the main thing. She has very powerful strokes, a great forehand, great serve. I played her in the finals of Japan in Tokyo.
She’s striking the ball beautifully. The thing is whether she can stay healthy, I hope for her, because she has a beautiful game.
Konjuh, we have seen her do good results, as well. I have played her a few times. Had some tough matches against her. She moves very well. Also powerful.
Yeah, then, Daria obviously mixes up the pace. I think she’s fun to watch, as well. Less fun to play (laughter).