Wozniacki and Azarenka ready to go

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Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka are close friends, as anyone who follows them on Twitter will attest. And on Monday the WTA buddies followed one another into the press centre at the Foro Italico to speak of their enthusiasm for the tournament.

“As you know, last year I did not do too well because I was a little injured and now this year I am really excited to play here,” said Belarusian Azarenka, who is seeded no.4 and enjoying her highest ranking to date, despite losing to Petra Kvitova in the final in Madrid last weekend. “Italy is one of my favourite countries and I am really excited to play here. I can’t wait for my first match.”

With the top eight seeds benefitting from a bye, that first match will be in the second round and against an Italian, though whether it is Roberta Vinci or Sara Errani remains to be seen. “For me it does not matter – I played both of them and I played against Errani recently. Both prefer clay and they’re tough. The best one is going to win and I am looking forward to playing the best one.”

Wozniacki meanwhile found out today that she will be seeded no.1 at the forthcoming French Open, her third top seeded in a row at Grand Slams. And with Rome now being a combined event with men and women playing at the same time, it has the feel of a Slam, she thinks. “It’s really great having the men and women together and I think that it brings a great atmosphere,” said the Dane. “The crowds will also like that because they can watch both men and women. I think it will be a very good tournament. In the big tournaments you always want to win every match and you prepare for the tournament and you are 100% focused. It is the same pretty much playing these tournaments and playing the Grand Slams – it is the same preparation.”

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