Wozniacki wary of mimicking 'inspiration' Serena

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 18 2013 08:07 PM | Updated as of Feb 19 2013 04:07 AM

HONG KONG - Caroline Wozniacki Monday called Serena Williams an "inspiration" after she returned to world number one at the record age of 31 -- but said she would think twice about impersonating her again.

Wozniacki, 22, ended 2010 and 2011 on top of the rankings but slipped off the pace last year and now lies 10th.

But the Dane, who has never won a Grand Slam, said she could draw hope from the 15-time major champion who has battled back from injury and illness to reclaim the top spot for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

"I think first of all I'm nine years younger than her because I'm 22! But second of all I think that it's great," Wozniacki told reporters by phone ahead of next month's BNP Paribas Tennis Showdown in Hong Kong.

"She's a great champion, she has won 15 Grand Slam titles, she's had an amazing year so she deserves to be world number one.

"Obviously it's an inspiration because it shows even though she had to fight back after her sickness and everything she went through, that she still came back."

Wozniacki dismissed the notion that 2012 was a "bad year" despite her best finish at a major tournament being quarter-final appearances at the Australian Open and at the Olympics -- where she lost to Williams, the eventual winner.

"It's not a year I'd like to forget. It's still a good year, being number 10 in the world, it's definitely not a bad year. A lot of players would like to be in my position.

"I'm very proud of the way I've been able to play for the past five years and I've been in the top 10 for that long as well."

The Dane ended 2012 in a spot of controversy after imitating Williams at an exhibition match in Brazil by stuffing towels in her shirt and skirt in an attempt to satirise the American's looks.

But after the stunt received some blow-back, including accusations -- denied by Williams -- that it carried racial undertones, Wozniacki said she would choose her targets more carefully.

"It's fun to entertain the crowd a little bit but now I'd definitely choose another player next time," she said.

Wozniacki is due to play China's world number five Li Na at the exhibition event in Hong Kong on March 4.

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