Agnieszka Radwanska won’t say whether she’d prefer a Grand Slam title or the world No.1 ranking. That’s because Poland’s most successful player ever wants both those things, and as ambition combines with improving form, plenty of match play and a clean bill of health to create an increasingly potent force, there are signs the 23-year-old’s plans for world domination could well come together.
A winner of her 11th career title in Auckland last week, Radwanska extended her match-winning streak to seven straight wins in 2013 after defeating Robert Vinci 6-4, 7-5 to progress to the semifinals of the Apia International Sydney. It’s particularly pleasing ahead of the Australian Open, where the Pole has been a quarterfinalist in three of her six appearances – two of them in the past two years.
“I think I already had a lot of good matches already before Australian Open, so I'm very happy about that, that I could play my best tennis from the beginning of the year. I can’t complain,” she said.
Radwanska also can’t complain about a breakthrough 2012 in which she claimed the biggest of her 11 career titles in Miami and progressed to her first major final at Wimbledon, where she pushed Serena Williams to three sets. Those performances saw Radwanksa elevated to a career-high No. 2 – helping her to establish some logical and realistic objectives for 2013.
“I think the goals every year are pretty much the same,” Radwanska said in Sydney this week. “Of course be No. 1 and winning the Grand Slams. Last year was very close, both of them, so definitely I will try this year.”
Warming up to bigger things has taken on a literal sense in Sydney, Radwanska overcoming Kimiko Date-Krumm inTuesday's 40-plus degree temperatures before relying on her craft and guile to progress efficiently against the 16th-ranked Vinci yesterday. Having never previously contested two events heading into the Australian Open, Radwanksa believes her 2013 plan is working out well.
“So far I feel good, and I'm very happy that I can play good matches, already seven in a row,” she said. “I'm happy with my performance ... I'm going to keep going.”
There’s every possibility that Radwanska could soon create even more history for her country. Her runner-up run at Wimbledon was accompanied by the milestone of being Poland’s first Grand Slam finalist of the Open Era and Radwanska acknowledges there’d be a considerable impact if she can improve on that result. ““Well, for sure that would be huge. Tennis is not that big sport in Poland,” she said, conceding that it’s a nation with few notable players in its history.
Even more significant ahead of Australian Open 2013 is Radwanska’s increased sense of belonging in the games’ upper echelons.“It was like the dreams come true to be in the major final, definitely, but I think nothing changed,” she said. “It's just that for sure I really have more confidence that I can be in the final of a Grand Slam and I can win it as well, so I'll try to do that.”