Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2018 Australian Open on the women’s side.

Do we know if Caroline Wozniacki is a Jay Z fan? Has anyone ever asked her if she likes, specifically, the old classic Public Service Announcement?

Because in 2018, exactly six years after she last was, Wozniacki is again the new world No. 1. The difference is this time, she has ascended to the top by winning—finally at long last, some might say—the first Grand Slam title of her career, beating Simona Halep in an Australian Open classic by the score of 7-6(2), 3-6 and 6-4.

In 2018, just like Jay Z in 2003 with the first words of the song referenced above, Wozniacki is starting the year asking is we might just allow her to reintroduce herself.

Her name is Woz, as she might say in the fictitious scenario of the song we’ve laid out above though let’s leave Jay Z out of it for now. This is Wozniacki’s time now, and she’s a Grand Slam champion.

Against Halep, Wozniacki played a match that was fairly faithful to what we’ve grown accustomed of her: a bit more aggression that usual perhaps, but mostly a clean slate with only 19 unforced errors to go with her 25 winners. It’s a recipe that’s served her well, and it did again in Melbourne.

You knew Wozniacki first as a talented teenager/youngster who would force her opponents into making mistakes but who couldn’t quite win the big matches. Who was ranked No. 1 but who falter against Serena Williams (as if she were the only one to do so?). Who could never win a Grand Slam title, as if this was the only thing tennis players could do, as if that somehow trumped her 67 (!!!!) weeks at the top of the WTA rankings. Everyone can win a Grand Slam title while only a select few get to be ranked No. 1, and yet in the eyes of many the former was always more prestigious and important.

Well now she can shut them the hell up.

Though she’s only 27 years old, it feels like she’s been there forever and that’s because she turned pro only eight days after turning 15 years old. You want to say something like this Australian Open title is the crowning achievement of Wozniacki’s career but that’s the wrong way to look at it in our opinion: Wozniacki has won almost 600 career matches, just under 30 career titles and $27 million in prize money in her time on the WTA.

A crowning achievement, you say? No, Wozniacki has been wearing her crown for a while already. Because the 27-year-old has enjoyed a stellar career and has been a mainstay in the top 20, when it wasn’t the top 10, of the world rankings for a decade now.

She’s arrived on tour as a defensive dynamo, notorious for a lethal backhand and for always forcing others to hit an extra ball or three to win a point. It led her to he top of her sport from 2010 to 2012, and again in 2018.

Nothing has changed. Except for that one thing.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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