Shriver: 'Wozniacki or Halep could rid mental scars in Melbourne'

Pam Shriver thinks either Caroline Wozniacki or Simona Halep would be a popular winner if they are crowned champion in Melbourne.

Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, the top two seeds at the Australian Open.   -  Getty Images

Pam Shriver thinks Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep are capable of removing mental scars by winning a first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

Halep and Wozniacki will start the first major of the year next week as the top two seeds, ranked number one and two respectively.

With Serena Williams not ready to defend her title after giving birth to her first child, Halep and the resurgent Wozniacki are among the women bidding to grasp an opportunity in Melbourne.

Read: Halep faces local teen wildcard at Australian Open

Both players have twice experienced the agony of losing Grand Slam finals, but Shriver would not be surprised to see one of the two lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

The former world number one said: "I don't think there is such thing as a favourite with Serena out, but you can have hunches.

"I feel like Halep's time will come in a major. She hasn't done that well in the Australian Open in recent years, but I feel like it has an atmosphere of a happy slam, which should appeal to her.

"It doesn't have quite the same intensity as maybe the French Open, Wimbledon or the US. She's a candidate, everybody is saying her draw is not the easiest, but I feel like if Halep is playing well, she will have a similar chance to Wozniacki.

"Their forehands need to be at their best throughout, their serves must not be a liability and we know they are two of the best retrievers.

Also read: Serena's absence opens the door

"Both have a lot of scar tissue, so they have to be able to overcome what has gone before and know they can turn the tables — both are capable of winning their first major and it would be a really positive global win if one of them can do it."

Shriver feels Wozniacki deserves immense credit for fighting her way back after injuries and a loss of form saw her slide down the rankings.

The American said of the WTA Finals champion: "She is a great story, she dropped down the rankings and has been resilient.

"When her forehand is operating well, she has got one of the best two-handed backhands, she's a great retriever, her serve has improved enough to give her some free points.

"It comes down to if her forehand looks smooth and has good acceleration, she can be a contender to win no doubt."

Halep faces Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in the first round, while Wozniacki takes on Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu.

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