LONDON (Reuters) - With several of her main threats on the treatment table rather than the tennis court, world number one Caroline Wozniacki may never get a better chance to break her grand slam duck and win the French Open.
The Dane is reminded every day by commentators, journalists and the yawning gap in the center of her trophy cabinet that a major title still alludes her but all that could change over the next two weeks.
The way the glamorous 20-year-old reacts with frustration to questions about whether she deserves her top-ranked status given her lack of success in the sport’s showpiece events suggests the millstone round her neck is weighing her down.
Salvation may come when she enters the Roland Garros locker room and sees Dinara Safina, Serena Williams and sister Venus Williams all missing.
Former world number one Safina is taking an indefinite break, Serena and Venus are still not fit while Kim Clijsters has only just returned having been out for two months.
Former numbers ones Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic are floating dangerously, however, and Wozniacki is taking anything for granted.
“You need to win seven matches whether this or that player is there or not,” she told Reuters last month.
Wozniacki’s caginess follows a string of disappointments in grand slams and shaky form on clay since winning the tournament in Charleston at the start of April.
She lost the final in Stuttgart to rank outsider Julia Goerges and was dumped out by the German a week later in the Madrid Open third round before losing to the resurgent Sharapova in the Italian Open semi-final.
Her best result at Roland Garros is the quarter-finals last year but with the current uncertainty in the women’s game, the draw could open up for the Nordic blonde.
“My main targets this year are the grand slams,” she said. “I’d like to win one but it’s not a catastrophe if I don‘t.”
Editing by Martyn Herman