Re: Dinara Part 2: NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!
STUTTGART, Germany April 27 (Reuters) - Freshly crowned world number one Dinara Safina expects another title-rich season that will consolidate her new status and lead her to a Grand Slam win.
Russian Safina replaced Serena Williams at the top of the WTA's official rankings last week and said the first half of her dream was realised, the other being a grand slam victory.
"This year started better than last year," Safina told Reuters in an interview arranged by the WTA Tour's sponsor Sony Ericsson before the start of the Stuttgart tournament.
"This year I have already played in a grand slam final so why not even have a better year?" Safina said.
Safina, who lost to Williams in the Australian Open in January and was a losing finalist at the 2008 French Open, said becoming number one had taken a lot of pressure off her game as she chases her first grand slam win.
"Now I can be more relaxed. I made it to the top and I can now focus on the other half of my dream. Before it was all about winning, winning, winning. The pressure was great."
Safina credited her coach Zeljko Krajan for turning her game round last year and helping her reach the top.
"I always felt there was more, something else inside me," she said. "I had the shots but did not know when to use my weapons. I am lucky I found the right person to open my mind.
"Now I feel I want to take everything in my hands. Not like waiting for Serena (Williams) to lose."
Safina, whose brother Marat is a former men's number one, said discussions about the ranking system and how a player with no grand slam win can go top left her cold.
The rankings system was questioned last week by Williams, who in the past 12 months has won the Australian Open and the U.S Open and was beaten finalist at Wimbledon.
"It all started with (former number one) Jelena Jankovic and me. Maybe it is because we are young or because these people are jealous," said the 23-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Monday with a big cake.
"You have to make sacrifices but when I celebrate I eat cake," she said. "I just had pancakes with chocolate spread before as well."
Safina does also not mind all the obligations which come with the top spot: "It will be new but this is what I wanted. I wanted to be famous."
The Porsche Grand Prix is the first official WTA clay court tournament held indoors as the buildup in Europe for the French Open starts in earnest.
Safina, who opens on Tuesday or Wednesday against Italy's Sara Errani, said she feels comfortable as she has already played several Fed Cup ties indoors on the dirt.
But she is already looking beyond Stuttgart, well aware that she will only be fully recognized as a top act with a Grand Slam title.
"My mission is not finished yet. I want to win a Grand Slam. I have to work hard but I think I can do it. I have been in finals," Safina said.