Top players tempted by Hong Kong WTA event, Caroline Wozniacki says
Denmark's world No 10 says she would jump at the chance to play in the city's new WTA event
Hong Kong's newly acquired WTA tournament in 2014 will be a huge draw among the world's best, says longtime visitor Caroline Wozniacki, who will be in town again next month for the BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition against Li Na.
World number 10 Wozniacki said she would be the first to put her hand up for a chance to play in Hong Kong - "a city everyone likes to come to" - and if her schedule permitted she would have no hesitation in accepting an invite.
"I love coming to Hong Kong. I have been there so many times and it is a great place to visit. If I was invited back for the WTA tournament, I would most definitely turn up," said Wozniacki, speaking from Dubai where she is taking part in this week's Dubai Open.
But unless she moves up the rankings in 12 months or so, it is unlikely local organisers will target Wozniacki for the inaugural Hong Kong WTA tier-three international tournament in September 2014 as they would be hoping to secure a top-five player.
Only one top-10 player is required to turn up under WTA rules for the US$235,000 tournament and unless the Hong Kong Tennis Association, the owner of the tournament, comes up with appearance fees, the chances of a top-class field will be limited.
This year, Hong Kong fans will have to make do with the March 4 exhibition at Asia-World Expo for the chance to watch players from the top draw. Apart from Wozniacki taking on Li, two legends of the game, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, will also battle it out.
"I'm looking forward to the match against Li Na. We are good friends and it will be good to catch up again. She's is down to earth and I like her very much," said Wozniacki, 22, who has won 20 WTA singles titles.
Ranked world No 1 at the end of 2010, the Dane held on to it for 67 weeks. She has since slipped down the rankings, but maintains she is still happy with her form.
"I think last season went okay for me. I'm very proud of the fact that I'm still among the top 10 in the world, a position I have been in for the past five years,' she said. "I'm sure a lot of players would love to be in my position."
The last time Wozniacki was in town was last November during the Hong Kong Golf Open when she accompanied boyfriend Rory McIlroy. They have been together for nearly two years but Wozniacki said there were no engagement plans.
"No, we are not engaged. And yes, everything is going well between us. But Rory won't be coming with me this time," she said.