Family first: Why Wozniacki is a winner

    Story highlights

    • Caroline Wozniacki tells CNN that family rivalry spurred her on to become world number one
    • Wozniacki was made to umpire matches because she was not good enough to beat her family
    • The Dane recalls meeting Venus Williams as a 12-year-old and the effect it had on her career
    • Wozniacki and her golfer boyfriend Rory McIlroy are keen users of networking site Twitter
    Caroline Wozniacki doesn't like losing -- and it's a trait that the tennis star's nearest and dearest also possess.
    Born into a sports-mad family, the Danish star had to battle for supremacy within the competitive environment of her childhood home in Odense, long before she had designs of making tennis her career.
    Both her father Piotr and older brother Patrik were professional footballers. Mother Anna played volleyball for Poland, where both parents were born -- and lived until Piotr joined a Danish club.
    "Sport was in my genes," Wozniacki told CNN's Open Court program. "But nobody would play me because they said I wasn't good enough -- they always put me in the umpire's chair!
    "But I was stubborn and started to practice playing tennis every day by hitting balls against a wall. I wanted to beat my parents first, then my brother. That was the ultimate goal, to beat my brother, and when it happened I was so happy!"
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    Piotr has been Wozniacki's coach for most of her career, but she has also started working with Spaniard Ricardo Sanchez.
    "My dad is still on court every day as well. I think it's important for me to stick to the same team," she said.
    "I've always gotten someone from the outside helping me with small details, and yeah -- I am thinking that can help."
    Wozniacki's recent Australian Open quarterfinal defeat to defending champion Kim Clijsters will have hurt her enormously, not least because it meant she also lost the world number one ranking she had held for 67 consecutive weeks.
    Critics bemoan the fact that Wozniacki has risen so high before earning a first grand slam title, but she has already won 18 WTA tournaments and earned nearly $12 million in career prize money.
    Add to that her celebrity boyfriend -- top golfer Rory McIlroy, who also hates losing -- and Wozniacki is fast becoming a darling of the tabloid press.
    The 21-year-old has no problems with the attention she receives and relishes being a role model to children, just like Martina Hingis and Venus Williams were when she was an adoring young fan.
    "On the practice courts, I see the small girls wearing Stella McCartney outfits & Yonex rackets. It's really nice to see," said Wozniacki, referring to the clothes line she wears and the equipment she endorses.
    "I remember myself when I was a little girl, looking up to Martina Hingis. I wanted to play like her and have the same clothes as her.
    "I also remember when Venus came to Copenhagen for an exhibition. I was 12 at the time. I went down to the court and asked her if she would play one point with me.
    "She did and I never forget that. I think it's also right to give something back to the people who follow you."
    Wozniacki also gives something back to her fans via the Internet. Like McIlroy, she is an avid user of social networking site Twitter and has accumulated over 270,000 followers.
    McIlroy has a remarkable 800,000 followers, meaning over one million people get to know the couple's inner thoughts and feelings every day.
    "I like Twitter a lot," said Wozniacki. "It is a great way to get the fans knowing another side of you.
    "I also think it is a good way to put things straight that are maybe misrepresented in the media. I have fun with it and give Rory a hard time on it!
    "(U.S. tennis player) Mardy Fish also gets involved on Twitter. I hit two aces against him in the Hopman Cup and teased him about it on Twitter."
    But it is Wozniacki's achievements on the court which still create the biggest news, not all of it positive. However, she has a relaxed attitude to her "slam drought."
    "My dream as a little girl was to be world number one and to win grand slams. I've finished as number one two years in a row and a slam is obviously my next goal," she said.
    "It's just about peaking at the right time and playing well for two weeks. I've reached the finals and semifinals before, so I know I can do it. Everything has just gone so fast because I am still only 21 but at the same time I feel like I have been on the WTA Tour for a while.
    She added: "Young players are starting to come up as well and they will see me as one of the older, experienced ones.
    "I just have to get used to that. I used to always be the young one playing without pressure, but I am just happy to be where I am and enjoying my time."