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French star Cornet shifts focus to cracking top 10

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:04

Just under 12 months ago at the 2008 Australian Open we were lucky enough to sit down with two genuine international hot prospects Denmarks Caroline Wozniacki
and young Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Last January they were both able to look back on impressive junior careers, but still had a lot of work to do to turn those results into wins on the senior tour. A year later, though, and after taking the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour by storm, the young Euro stars are on the brink of the womens top 10.

‘Ill be focusing on improving my serve and returns’ – Cornet

Eighteen-year-old Wozniacki has arguably been the success story of 2008 with four singles titles and a ranking rise of 52 places to her current listing of No.12. But Cornets season has been no less spectacular. She has climbed 41 spots in the senior rankings to No.16, won her first WTA title in Budapest and reached her first tier 1 final in Rome.

Both players ended their seasons with some local success too, Wozniacki cruising to her hometown title in Odense in late November and Cornet helping the womens team at her training base, Lagardere Paris Racing, to the French national club title.

Cornet, who turns 19 in January, describes her season as simply superb, but says she aims to push on from her current position into the top 10 to become one of the games elite.

This year I passed a big milestone by entering the top 20 and reaching my highest ranking of No.16, Cornet told French newspaper Lequipe this week.
Becoming French No.1 at 18 is really extraordinary.

The teenager, from Nice, in the south of France, says that while the top 10 is the ultimate target for the new year, success at the four grand slams is also important.

I want to better play in the slams and reach at least the quarter-finals, especially at Roland Garros which is a special event for me.

Im doing a lot of physical work at the moment. Im concentrating on endurance, building muscle, and cardiac work.

In November I put the emphasis on physical training and afterwards Ill start working on court. Ill be focusing on improving my serve and returns.

Cornet recognises that the time to make some ground on her rivals is early in 2009 when she will be dropping relatively few ranking points.

I begin the year with few points to defend, she explains. That puts me in a good position. If I play as well as I can then the results will follow thats what my coach [Pierre Bouteyre] always tells me.

Its a reflection of her character that with such high aspirations and after considerable success on the world stage that she still finds the time for the things that are important to her like representing TeamLagadere.

So why exactly does she bother playing domestic team tennis after such a busy year? Its fun, she says. Its something Ill always do even if my ranking rises. I dont understand why more top players dont play.

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