WTA

Caroline Wozniacki ‘up for the challenge’ of returning to the top on her return

By Sports Desk July 11, 2023

Caroline Wozniacki is confident she will be able to compete with the top players again when she comes out of retirement next month.

The former world number one, who has two children, announced last month she would be ending her three-year exile this summer and will return for the American hard court swing that begins after Wimbledon.

The 33-year-old, who won the 2018 Australian Open and reached two US Open finals, was at the top of the women’s game for the best part of a decade before she called time on her career in 2020.

Since then Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka have broken away to form a ‘big three’ but Wozniacki says that if she can compete with Serena Williams then she should be able to hack it against the current crop of players.

Speaking ahead of her appearance in the women’s invitation doubles at Wimbledon, she said: “I have played them before, I know exactly what I am up against. I know they are playing extremely well and aggressive and consistent and it is going to be a tough challenge but I am up for the challenge.

“I have fought tough players before and fought my way around so I am going to do the same this time.

“Obviously there are a lot of good players out there and it is a high level of tennis but I played with the greatest of all time in Serena. She’s the best player I ever played and she isn’t around anymore so that feels good to me at the moment! I am happy not to have to play her anymore.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki)


“I am not putting a time on how long I will play, just see how the body holds up, see how I feel, how the kids and everyone does.

 

“I am excited to be back and excited to be playing and hopefully it will be my best tennis yet.”

Wozniacki, who resumes her professional career in Montreal later this month, is one of several mothers who are playing on tour.

And the Dane believes she may now have less pressure when she is competing.

“I think for me, I will go out there and enjoy myself and play the way I have been practising and that is all you can do, give it the best when you are out there,” she said.

“My family and my kids is the most important thing in my life to me so I know that if I win or lose they won’t look at me any differently.

“It is going to be a great experience for us as a family to have the kids see a little bit of the world and meet new people and see new cultures. It is such a good learning experience for them so young before they go to real school.”

Kim Clijsters is a flagbearer in the modern era for returning to the tour after having children, winning the US Open in one of her first tournaments back by beating Wozniacki in the final.

And she says the Dane will need to get to grips with new challenges as she resumes her career.

“When you get into a situation like that when you’re a mother but you also become a professional athlete again, you have an expectation of how you did it before and the time that goes into it,” Clijsters said.

“That was for me a little bit hard at the beginning to balance, am I going to put six, seven hours a day focusing on myself again and how do I feel about that?

“You have to leave your daughter or your kids behind so I struggled a little bit with that in the beginning but then you learn that there’s other people that are really good at taking care of your kids too.

“I think that was a little bit of a challenge mentally to get that motherly instinct – you don’t push it aside but you have to balance that so you have enough of both. I think that will be probably the biggest challenge at the beginning.”

Related items

  • Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025 Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025

    Boris Becker says he is “working hard with the authorities” to return to the UK and Wimbledon in 2025.

    The three-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion was deported from the UK in December 2022 after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for hiding £2.5m of assets and loans in a bankruptcy fraud case.

    Becker cannot return to the UK until October 2024 at the earliest following his deportation, but the 56-year-old German plans to return to the tournament he says is “in my DNA” as soon as possible.

    “Wimbledon has been my favourite tournament as a player, coach and commentator,” Becker said at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid.

    “It’s unique, you can’t compare it.

    “I lived in Wimbledon a long time so I’m working hard with the authorities to have all the applications ready to be back for next year. We’re working on 2025.

    “It’s a part of my life. It’s in my DNA, you can’t deny that.”

    Asked if he would be back in the Wimbledon commentary box, Becker replied: “I hope so.”

    Becker has not been involved in tennis since stepping down as Holger Rune’s head coach at the start of February.

    The pair spent less than four months together, but in that time the 20-year-old qualified for the ATP finals in Italy.

    ::The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit www.laureus.com

  • Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement

    Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has announced her retirement from tennis.

    The 30-year-old Spaniard won the French Open in 2016 before lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court the following summer but she had not played a competitive match since January 2023.

    At a press conference where she was announced as a Laureus Ambassador, Muguruza said: “If 25 years ago, when I started hitting my first tennis balls, someone had told me that I would become a professional tennis player, that I would fulfil my dream of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon, that I would become number one in the world and win the WTA Finals, I would have thought this person was crazy.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Women’s Tennis Association (@wta)

    “Tennis has given me a lot in this first part of my life. It has been a fantastic journey in which I have experienced unique situations. I have travelled all over the world and experienced many different cultures.

    “I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have helped and accompanied me throughout this chapter, because without them I would not have been able to get here.

    “I have grown and matured in a very different way than what can be considered normal, and now I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, which will surely be linked in some way to tennis and sports.

    “I hope that my collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good is the beginning of many more projects in which I can dedicate myself and help young people through sport.”

    Muguruza turned professional in 2012 and reached her first grand slam final three years later at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Serena Williams.

    But the big-hitting Spaniard took revenge in 2016 when she stunned Williams in the final at Roland Garros, and a year later she beat Venus Williams to add the Wimbledon trophy to her collection.

    She climbed to the top of the rankings in September 2017, where she stayed for four weeks, but consistency was not Muguruza’s strong point and she slipped down the standings before a resurgence in 2020.

    Muguruza reached her fourth grand slam final at the Australian Open, losing to American Sofia Kenin, and she returned to the world’s top three at the end of 2021 after winning the WTA Finals for the first time.

    But the next season saw her plummet back down the rankings and her retirement comes as no surprise given her long hiatus from the sport.

  • Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek

    Emma Raducanu’s progress in the Stuttgart Open was halted in straight sets by world number one Iga Swiatek.

    The Polish four-time grand slam champion, in her 100th week on top of the ATP world rankings, prevailed 7-6 (2) 6-3 to set up a semi-final showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.

    It was, however, an encouraging quarter-final performance from Raducanu, who has slipped to 303 in the world rankings after a torrid 2023.

    Raducanu came in to the contest on a high after winning four matches in a row for the first time since her US Open title in 2021 and raised confidence levels were reflected in the opening exchanges.

    Several booming returns from the 21-year-old Briton turned a 0-40 deficit into an immediate break of serve, but Swiatek levelled after edging a second game that featured seven deuces.

    That see-saw battle set the tone for a marathon 70-minute opening set which produced plenty of high-quality ground strokes from both sides of the net.

    The match went with serve from that point, with Raducanu superbly holding her nerve at 5-4 and 6-5 down to force the first set to a tie-break.

    Swiatek completely dominated the tie-break though, winning the first four points before closing it out 7-2.

    Raducanu was quickly in trouble again in the second set, falling 2-0 behind and covered in clay after losing her footing on the baseline.

    She continued to fight and fended off break points in her next two service games to stay in the match.

    But Swiatek kept up the pressure to finally end Raducanu’s resistance to move in to the last four.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.