Top billing not the focus for Petra Kvitova in Melbourne

Petra Kvitova can become the women's world No 1 at the Australian Open, but she says it is not an achievement that drives her.

epa03059981 Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2012. The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, will begin on 16 January.  EPA/AHMAD YUSNI
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For someone within touching distance of the world's top ranking, Petra Kvitova seems non-plussed about the possibility of achieving the milestone when the Australian Open begins tomorrow.

The tall 21 year old, who could become the second Czech woman to achieve the world No 1 after Martina Navaratilova, only began to take tennis more seriously at 16 and said the possible achievement had never entered her mind.

"Actually when I start (to) play tennis, I didn't think I would be (a) professional tennis player," Kvitova said on Sunday. "So for me (I) won Wimbledon, (the WTA) Championships, Fed Cup, it wasn't my dream. But it's very nice.

"If I maybe can be number one, it will be very nice, too, of course."

Kvitova has been questioned relentlessly about the top ranking since she arrived in Australia, where she played Hopman Cup and the Sydney International and actually had the opportunity to snatch it before the first grand slam of the year.

She had to win the Sydney tournament to leapfrog Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, though she lost in the semi-finals to China's Li Na.

Wozniacki will need to at least make the fourth round at Melbourne Park to give her the chance of retaining the top spot, and Kvitova was quick to point out that any number of players (actually six) could be world No 1 in two weeks time.

"Yeah, I mean, it's very close (to being No 1), but still it's really far away because, you know, many players can be really top," she said.

"I mean, it's really open now, the women's tennis. Everybody from top can play really well.

"I know it's just some points, but still it's really big step."

The rangy left-hander with a powerful serve and booming forehand is being touted as being at the forefront of a generational change in the women's game, having won her first grand slam title, the season-ending WTA Championships and helped the Czech Republic to the Fed Cup title.

She also won six titles, the same numbers as Wozniacki, on the tour last year, though she was a little reticent to suggest she could repeat the feat this year.

"The last year was great for me. Of course, I had many (good) results. It will be very tough to have similar results this year.

"I know it will be very tough, but still I just want to be focused on my game and we will see."