Wozniak making name for herself

STEVE SIMMONS, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 1:20 PM ET

WIMBLEDON -- Five months younger but a lifetime removed from Maria Sharapova, a young Canadian found her own kind of celebrity at Wimbledon yesterday.

Aleksandra Wozniak signed an autograph after her match on Court 17 and as the young fan walked away holding on to his program, he turned to his mom and asked: "Who was that?"

It is a question more may be asking should Wozniak, the 17-year-old from Montreal, continue her impressive ascent in the girls singles draw at junior Wimbledon.

"I hope one day I will be the kind of player that everyone in Canada will know," said Wozniak after a rather dominating 6-3, 6-2 win over Olivia Lukaszewicz of Australia to advance to the junior quarter-finals.

"I hope to be the kind of player who can inspire young players and then give them something to hope for."

All she has to do is make it first.

PROFESSIONALLY

But at 17, an age where many women already are competing professionally, Wozniak won't make that journey until at least after this tournament.

"She can win here," Tennis Canada coach Martin Laurendeau said. "Why not? You look at her play and it looks so easy. What she's doing isn't a fluke. She didn't even play well (yesterday) and she won three and two.

"I warmed her up and I can't believe how hard she hits the ball. She hits a heavy ball like (Lindsay) Davenport. If she can become a better athlete, I don't see why she can't have a long career as a top-50 player.

"I think she belongs (in the pros) already. She can hold her own with a lot of players."

Currently, not a single Canadian woman is ranked in the top 100 in the tennis world. The highest-ranked player is virtual unknown Marie-Eve Pelletier at 106.

"I want to be the best player Canada ever had," the sixth-seeded Wozniak said.

Not ironically, playing just a few courts away, Carling-Bassett Seguso, the best Canadian ever, was being eliminated in an over-35 women's doubles event.


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