Caroline Wozniacki told reporters in Dubai that she found it difficult to stay motivated when she held the No. 1 ranking.
The Dane, now ranked No. 10, grabbed the No. 1 ranking in October 2010 as a 20-year-old and held the top spot for 67 weeks. Wozniacki says the accelerated success made tennis seem like a chore.
“I think at one point it felt like just a job,” said the 22-year-old who fell from world No 1 to No 10 in the space of a year.
“It was like ‘Okay, you have done so much in such a short time’. Every camera and every person’s eyes on you all the time, and there’s media, sponsors, fans, there’s everything. You want to please everyone and do your best out there on court.
“All of a sudden I was going to practice, and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m winning almost everything at the moment and you need to motivate yourself, and all of a sudden you don’t win as much. You’re like ‘Oh, it’s not as fun as it used to be’.
“You just need to step up and say ‘Okay, you do what you love and you enjoy what you do’. I just feel like I have really gotten that hunger back and that enjoyment of the game like when I was a little kid. I just wanted to play. I just wanted to be out there.”
Wozniacki dropped only five games in the first two rounds in victories against Lucie Safarova and Zheng Jie at the Dubai Championships. She will next face Marion Bartoli, who advanced after Serena Williams withdrew with a back injury.