Melbourne: Karolina Pliskova is seen as a dangerous floater heading into this week’s Australian Open and she says it is the tournament that offers the best chance for a maiden Grand Slam title.
The tall and tattooed Czech star had a stellar 2016, beating Serena Williams to reach the US Open final before falling to world number one Angelique Kerber.
Her scintillating form has continued this year with victory at the lead-up Brisbane International, propelling her to a career-best fifth in the world.
Pliskova, 24, won the girl’s singles title at Melbourne Park in 2010 and said it was a tournament where she felt at home.
“I think this can be the place where I can play my best tennis, because the courts suit me. The weather as well, the balls as well,” she said on Sunday.
She opens her account against Spain’s Tormo Sorribes but she is not getting ahead of herself, insisting she cannot be considered a favourite despite her US Open performance.
“I would definitely not take me as a favourite of this tournament. It’s a big draw. There is a lot of players. I just take it step by step,” she said.
“There is still I think many more players better than me.
“I guess everyone is in shape and everyone is excited to play this Grand Slam. It’s the first Grand Slam of the year. Everyone was working hard in the off-season, so it’s tough to say. We will just see after few rounds here.”
Pliskova is now coached by David Kotyza, who helped guide fellow Czech Petra Kvitova to two Wimbledon titles and has also worked with Caroline Wozniacki.
He said this month that Pliskova had all the attributes to become a Grand Slam champion, and is now pushing her to become a more aggressive player.
“I just want him to believe in me and just to prepare me for the tournaments which I want to play the best tennis, which are all the Grand Slams,” Pliskova said.
“I want him to go the way where I want to go. We both decided we definitely want to play aggressive tennis. He’s just pushing me this way, to be a better player than I am now.”
Pliskova is seeded to meet two-time Melbourne Park semi-finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals.