World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki's battling qualities charm her Doha rival Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters, the US Open champion, says Caroline Wozniacki "brings beautiful tennis" to the women's tour and looks forward to facing the new world No 1 at the season-ending WTA tournament in Doha, which starts today.
"I think she has a game that's physically demanding," said Clijsters, mindful that matches may take place in temperatures of 30°C or warmer, even during an evening schedule.
"She's not like a Serena [Williams] who will hit a lot of winners and aces. She really has to fight for almost every match she plays, which is a good thing.
"But when you are No 1, everybody wants to say, 'I beat the No 1 in the world' I think it's something that changes for the other players."
Wozniacki, a 20-year-old Dane, has won five of her last seven tournaments. She said she has learned from her drama in Doha last year when she collapsed with all-over cramps without anyone being able to touch her until she recovered sufficiently to continue playing.
"Hopefully I will not be lying on the court this year like I did then," she said. "It's just about drinking a lot of water, a lot of energy drinks, and just keeping your fluids going.
"I feel in good shape, and that I'm ready for this. The heat, we're used to the heat - by playing in Australia or Cincinnati or some of those other places, so I don't think it's going to have a big effect."
The two players are in separate groups for the eight-woman tournament, so they would have to both advance past the group play before they have a chance of a head-to-head match,
Wozniacki heads a group that includes Francesca Schiavone, the French Open champion from Italy, Samantha Stosur, the French Open runner-up from Australia, and Elena Dementieva, the former Olympic champion from Russia.
Clijsters is in a group with Vera Zvonareva, the Russian whom she overwhelmed in the US Open final, Jelena Jankovic, the former world No 1 from Serbia, and Victoria Azarenka, a late substitute who will have to play within three days of winning Sunday's Kremlin Cup final in Moscow.
Clijsters said yesterday that she still has a wound from an operation to remove a mole that has prevented her from competing for the past six weeks.
"The stitches were supposed to be in for 10 days and all should have been fine," she said. "But because it got infected, I had to take the stitches out before the wound was closed, and it took longer to heal. I still have a little bit of a cut ... It's good now. Doesn't hurt. But I'm glad it's over with."