WASHINGTON, December 7, 2017 (by Michael Dickens)
Caroline Wozniacki began her pro tennis career at the tender age of 15 as a wild card entry at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, and over the next 14 years got to be pretty good at her chosen profession. The Danish star with blonde hair and clear blue eyes and her trademark visor, who was coached by her father, Piotr, went on to earn 30 WTA singles titles, a World No. 1 ranking for 71 weeks (the ninth-highest total since the inception of the WTA computer rankings), a WTA Finals victory (2017 Singapore), and proudly represented Denmark in three Olympic Games – even carrying her country’s flag in the 2016 Rio Games.
Wozniacki won the 2018 Australian Open for her only major title and twice (2009, 2014) was a finalist at the US Open.
“I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” the 29-year-old Wozniacki, a native of Odense, Denmark, explained via Instagram on Friday.
“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done.”
Big announcement! pic.twitter.com/gkA0CrMzdo
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) December 6, 2019
Like calling time on her pro career, which began back in 2005 and later included winning her first WTA singles title at the 2008 Stockholm Open, becoming the first Danish woman to win a pro title. Standing 5-feet-10 (1.77m) and playing right-handed with a two-fisted backhand, Wozniacki rose to the top of her sport with a good mixture of offensive and defensive skills. She won at least one title every year between 2008 and 2018, and finished 11 consecutive seasons inside the Top 20.
Wozniacki, currently ranked 37th, announced she will retire from pro tennis after next month’s Australian Open in Melbourne, the site of her greatest triumph and the tournament in which she won her only Grand Slam. When Wozniacki won the 2018 Australian Open – beating Simona Halep in three sets – 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 after two hours and 49 minutes – she became just the fourth women’s player all-time (joining Martina Navratilova, Ana Ivanovic and Victoria Azarenka) to simultaneously win her maiden major title and ascend to No. 1.
In making her announcement, Wozniacki wrote that her decision to end her tennis career is not about her health, although she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in summer 2018, an autoimmune disease which affects mostly women that can cause joint pain and stiffness. It impacted her on-court movement and affected her results the rest of the season and throughout 2019. She ended this season with her lowest year-end ranking since 2007.
Despite being slowed on the court, Wozniacki suggested that she has other plans and priorities besides tennis. She’s got a strong sense of who she is and what she wants. It’s part of being a goal-oriented person, not just a pro athlete.
“In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court,” she wrote. “Getting married to David (ex-NBA All-Star David Lee) was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.
“So with that, today I am announcing that I will be retiring from professional tennis after the Australian Open in January. This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!
“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this.”
In 2019, Wozniacki finished with a 20-15 win-loss record and won $1,726,002 in prize money. She did not win any titles and her best finish was reaching the finals of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C. in April. For her career, Wozniacki’s win-loss record is 630-262 and she’s earned $35,218,415.