Mother-of-two Caroline Wozniacki returns with confidence: “The dream is to win Australia”.
The cliché was successfully avoided.
— Please don’t tell me you’re taking it one match at a time— the interviewer asked Caroline Wozniacki at Margaret Court Arena.
—The dream is to win it —she replied with a nervous laugh —I’ve worked hard and I feel I’m playing very well. So why not me?
The Dane, WTA number one for 71 weeks, believes she can emulate her 2018 campaign. In Melbourne she won her only Grand Slam title and then never got past the fourth round at a major tournament.
She started well at the Australian Open which in 2024 granted her an invitation: she triumphed against her friend Magda Linette, 6-2, 2-0 and retirement. The Pole, who suffered with physical discomfort, will drop several places in the rankings after failing to defend last season’s semifinals.
Australia is a special place for Caroline Wozniacki, because she chose that stage to retire from tennis in 2020, determined to take a good rest and start a family.
She did the first goal: she traveled around Oceania, climbed Kilimanjaro, and had more mountain experiences in Poland. Then, when the pandemic hit, she rented a house on a small Danish island with her husband and some friends.
In that privileged place she achieved the secong goal: she had two children with David Lee, a former NBA player. When she returned to hitting the ball in late 2022 after the birth of James, her second child, she realized how much she missed tennis. “I felt like I was hitting him better than ever. Was I making it up?” she told Vogue in mid-2023, when she announced she would return to tennis at the US Open (with stops in Canada and Cincinnati).
In a tour full of baby bottles and diapers around, the Dane wanted to increase the number of accredited little ones who at tournaments run through the corridors of the players lounge, or give work to the stuff in the nurseries. Wozniacki’s desire is to do what she loves in front of her nuclear family. “I love playing in front of big crowds, but I’m also passionate about being able to share this thing I love with my family. Being with them and creating these memories makes it that much more special for me,” she told Nina Miyashita in Vogue Australia.
The 252nd-ranked player said on court after her win over Linette that her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Olivia is understanding the tennis tour: “When she watches tennis on TV she screams ‘That’s my mom!’ even though it’s not me.
“I wanted to get back in shape, so I made it a point to get back on the court once a week and with how good I felt, I was convinced I could compete well again,” she said. She always complemented her training with yoga and pilates.
She reached the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows (her ceiling since she became a Grand Slam champion) and lost to Coco Gauff, the eventual champion in New York. Thus she confirmed what she was convinced of. And also what she surely thought when watching tennis on TV. As Naomi Osaka must have also believed, another comebacker: there are (almost) no invincibles in the women’s tour for an experienced player who has already achieved the most difficult things in the professional tour and who returns without pressure.
She is relaxed. She has nothing to lose. She plays to enjoy and enjoys playing. With that extra motivation experienced given by her children.
COVER PHOTO: VOGUE