Her name’s a mouthful -Wozniacki. But she is hard to forget…
This is a woman who has it all. Great looks, a physique that shows off well whatever she wears – especially sports gear by designer Stella McCartney, a healthy bank account thanks to her title wins and endorsements, and both feet firmly planted on the ground, when not sprinting for a mean backhand or jumping to seal a set.
Despite Singapore’s noon-day heat and humidity, and a packed schedule, former World No. 1 on the WTA Tour Caroline Wozniacki is the picture of cool and composure.
The hair may be slightly out of place, but this is one great Dane, taking questions with smiles and no hint of the flurry in her day or the disappointing run she’d had on the 2015 tennis circuit, that has continued as the 2016 season opened with the Melbourne Open. “I will try to work hard to get there and win,” she says with a smile when asked if her 2016 goals included some Grand Slam titles.
“At the end of the day, I feel I can beat all the players but you have to play well all the time” she quietly adds.
Game On, Always
Wozniacki has yet to win a tennis Grand Slam title, and although plagued by injuries especially around the ankle, she makes no excuses for her performance. “I played my best tennis (in 2015) but I’ve also been unlucky with some injuries” she says in a matter-of-fact tone.
This is a pick-yourself-up and get-on-with-it girl. Even after the pre-wedding break-up with top ranking golfer, Rory McIlroy. After he apparently called to tell her that he was not ready for marriage, Wozniacki kept her game face on, playing better tennis and even running the New York City marathon.
When reflecting on 2015 which wasn’t a good tournament year for her, all Wozniacki could say was “I am excited for 2016 with the Olympics coming up”. And yes, she will be representing Denmark.
The Danish tennis pro, who lives in Monte Carlo with her brother, first picked up the tennis racquet at the age of seven. With both parents being sports professionals hailing from Poland – dad played soccer and mum was a volleyball player – it seemed an almost natural progression. But Wozniacki credits her success not just to natural talent, but family.
“My dad has been coaching me since I was seven and the trust and bond we have is very special. I wouldn’t be here without him. “This isn’t the case for everyone but sometimes you need every bit of support you can get,” said the 25-year-old when she met aspiring tennis players in Singapore a few months ago.
Turning pro after winning a string of junior titles at the age of 14, including the 2006 Wimbledon girls’ singles title, Wozniacki is no slacker. She trains at least four hours day on the tennis court, in addition to strength training in the gym.
Beauty and The Beast
Known as the Beast for her scorching double-handed backhand, this beauty is also pretty keen in the brains department.
Although her performance is patchy and she doesn’t always lead the rankings or the sports section headlines, she is one the richest tennis players with a conservative estimated net worth of US$13m. Just in her mid-20s, Wozniacki is smart enough to do some of her banking off the tennis court.
In 2015, Wozniacki graced the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and has been modelling the designer threads of Stella McCartney and adidas since 2009. With a voracious appetite for everything except junk food (she exercises it all off, she once explained) and a huge weakness for chocolate, her role as Godiva chocolate ambassador is probably her favourite. She is also the brand ambassador for Betadine antiseptic by Mundipharma (great for blisters that players get on their hands and feet), an airline, and stands up for providing more education to girls.
Wozniacki has been cited as one of the top 10 most marketable athletes. And she is well-aware of it. Her public demeanour and the way she handles the media is almost as flawless as her tennis.
When asked of occasional tennis rival and close friend Sarena Williams, she didn’t hesitate to agree that the World’s No.1 is “the greatest tennis player in the modern era” while also adding her childhood heroes. “But there’s also Steffi Graf who’s won a lot … but players that I have played against, no doubt, Sarena is the greatest one.”
The friendship with the 34-year American runs deep, with both often trading encouragements via social media, and Williams painting the town red with Wozniacki after she had to tear up her wedding invitations. But when asked what Williams may have shared after losing some matches, the Dane fired off a verbal version of her fierce backhand, but with a smile. “You know, there’s nothing bad … It’s going to come out in the media at the end of the day.” “Sarena has had a great year and I am very pleased for her. She’s won three Slams and is a step closer to getting that record” adding that she had no doubt that Williams will come back stronger in 2016.
Divest, But Focus On No.1
Wozniacki, who makes tennis seem so easy even when balancing on heels, also makes small investments outside of tennis. She has parked some cash in a small café. She also invested some time with a website, called the Players Tribune, where she is the senior editor – a role she clearly is proud of.
“The Players Tribune is a website where the athletes can come out with stories of their own perspectives – ways we can communicate, so that things don’t get twisted … I think it is an amazing platform to give the fans more and to give them an insight into our lives. “I’ve done one long article which I thought was really good … it’s definitely something I want to use more in 2016.” It’s hard to guess that the tall blonde with her relaxed way of speaking is super busy. But she puts it all down to her number one job – being a tennis pro. “There are obviously lots of things happening off the court and I enjoy that, and that’s part of being a professional tennis player, and doing well.”
(All photos by Siti Nur Mas Lina, channelnewsasia.com)
The original is here: http://www1.channelnewsasia.com/premier/2016/01/22/caroline-wozniacki-the-tennis-cool-cat/