NEW YORK | After a three-year retirement, having two children and not touching a tennis racket for “I’m not sure how long,” former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki pulled off a great feat on Friday by opting for the Round of 16 qualified the US Open.
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Against another “returner” – the American Jennifer Brady, who had to take a break for two years due to serious injuries – the Dane won 4:6, 6:3 and 6:1 in the central Arthur Ashe Stadium, which the organizers had reserved for the two players.
And the 33-year-old will also have made a small comeback in her comeback, which she began almost a month ago in Montreal. Because at one point in this encounter, the former star of the scene, champion of the Australian Open 2018, was behind 6:4 and 2:0.
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But Wozniacki, who was world No. 1 for 71 weeks in her “first career,” persevered.
“It wouldn’t happen again.”
In a performance that was at times reminiscent of the tennis that took her to the top of the rankings, she built up the game by running some balls as if she had never hung up her racket and having two children – Olivia, 2, and James, 10 months – in the meantime.
“I missed setbacks [pendant la première manche], she analyzed. When I was 2-0 down, I decided it wouldn’t happen again. I started moving my feet better.”
“I decided it wouldn’t happen again.” These words, spoken at a press conference, undoubtedly go a long way to explaining the stunning return to New York of the Dane, who was eight months pregnant with her boy this time last year.
“Honestly, not really,” she smiled to a reporter who asked her if she was surprised by what was happening to her. I think I always believed in myself so much.”
Photo Getty Images via AFP
“It’s just that I needed some time to find my rhythm in the games,” added Wozniacki, who reached the second round in Montreal and lost in the first in Cincinnati. But I feel very good in training. I worked on the physical aspect to be in good shape.”
“After everything I’ve been through in my career, I know where I am. I feel a little better every day. Would I have been surprised if I lost in the first round? NO. But will I be surprised if I keep winning? That doesn’t apply either.”
In three decades
The Dane’s performance is all the greater on the way to this famous round of 16, which she will contest on Sunday in the hands of the winner of the duel between the American Coco Gauff (6th) and the Belgian Elise Mertens (32nd). In the second round, number 11 seeded Czech Petra Kvitova.
She has now reached the fourth round of the US Open in three decades, having first reached it in 2008 at the age of 18.
And while she’s not surprised to be this far into the tournament this time around, that statistic has made her eyes widen.
“Oh no! “It makes me feel old,” she said, reiterating that she finds this feat of weaponry “pretty cool.”
“As a child, I could never have imagined this,” Wozniacki said. Having that longevity, coming back after having children, but also getting so far in this tournament at such a young age, those are things I’m really proud of.
“I don’t know how long I’ll play. One year, five years? But to be able to do it in these big stadiums and in front of so many spectators is something very special to me that I will never take for granted.