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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday January 18, 2020

Photo Source: Mark Peterson / Corleve

It will be a bittersweet Australian Open for fans of Caroline Wozniacki that wish she would continue playing and gracing the game with her presence for the foreseeable future, but for Wozniacki herself, the choice to retire has not been a difficult one to make. With a cool head Wozniacki told reporters on Saturday in Melbourne that the time was just right—she felt it, knew it and has no doubts whatsoever.

“It's been something I've been thinking about for a long time, for a while,” Wozniacki told reporters. “I just looked at my life, at my career, everything else, and I just had a look inside of myself, and it felt right.”

Tennis Express

The greatest player that Denmark has ever produced has certainly made her mark on the game, winning 30 titles and holding the No.1 ranking for a whopping 71 weeks. And she’s made her mark on Melbourne as well. This is the city that saw Wozniacki triumphantly hoist the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning her lone major title here in 2018.

Wozniacki has been a fixture at the top of the game for a decade, and no matter what you feel about the style of her game there is no denying that she was one of the most cunning, intense competitors that the sport has seen in recent years. Not blessed with gargantuan power, Wozniacki made up for the deficiency with desire, consistency and intellect. The consistency and the desire went hand in hand, and the intellect came natural, as if tennis IQ was her middle name.

Wozniacki knew what she needed to do to win and did it stubbornly, night after night after night on tour. Blessed with world-class wheels and an eagerness to defend the baseline as if her life depended on it, the Dane was the player who took sinister delight in turning an opponent’s desperate plea to shorten a point into a long, protracted rally that dragged on and on as the wins piled up.

As her career progressed Wozniacki became more than just the “Golden Retriever” that would drive aggressive players crazy, she also learned to take that magical, grooved backhand up the line and to serve big and hit big to earn free points (when the mood struck).


Last few workouts before the tournament begins!πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ’ͺ🏻

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

It wasn’t easy to get Wozniacki to step out of her comfort zone and play big tennis. That wasn’t who she was and full credit to her for knowing who she was, what she was able to do on a tennis court, and for wrapping it all up neatly into one deluxe package built for the Hall of Fame. Remember a few paragraphs ago we mentioned 71 weeks at No.1? Yeah, well, only eight players in history have managed more.

Tactically Wozniacki was as sound as they come. Mentally, she was a ruthless, relentless player who never took a night off. And now that the dust is settling on a career that many sought to discredit because it was missing a Slam title, we come to find that that argument no longer works.

No longer the best player to never win a Slam, Wozniacki has been a bona fide Slam winner for just about two years, and nobody will ever take that away.

“I think it's great that I have it,” Wozniacki said on Saturday. “I think it means a lot to me. But I think hadn't it happen, and I left and it wasn't to be, then again, all I can do is really give it my all, push myself as much as I can every day. At the end of the day I would have been proud regardless.”

It will be hard to watch Wozniacki end her career during this Aussie Open fortnight, knowing that she’s just 29 and certainly could have been an impactful player for years to come on tour.

But she is clearly intent on starting a new life and there is joy to be had in that as well. Married to longtime fiance David Lee last year in Tuscany, Wozniacki says that her calendar is already pretty much booked for the next six months. Certainly one of the premier pugilists on a tennis court over the last decade will not lose her trademark relentless energy. You can take the tennis out of the fighter but you can’t take the fighter out of the person.

“I'm leaving with no regrets at all because I've worked so hard my whole life, my whole career,” Wozniacki reiterated. “I've given it literally everything that I have to reach where I got. Can you go back and say, Had I done this thing differently or this thing differently? Maybe... In the end of the day, every single day I showed up, in practice and in matches, and I gave it my all.

“That's why I can look back at my career and say I'm very proud of everything that I've achieved, very proud of the ups and the downs. But especially to be able to just continually push myself to be a better player, I feel like I've given a lot to the sport that I can be very proud of.


A dream come true!! @australianopen champion and new world #1 πŸ˜˜πŸ†

A post shared by Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki) on

For those not wanting to miss what could be Wozniacki’s last professional match, tune into Melbourne Arena on Monday where she’ll face America’s Kristie Ahn in the second match of the day.

It may seem a bit premature for "Sunshine" to ride off into the sunset, but Wozniacki has given all she can give to the sport. She deserves one last great moment, or several if things break her way this week, and the freedom to choose her next great endeavor.


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