2018 season snapshot: Caroline Wozniacki

Published by Matt Trollope

Caroline Wozniacki in action during the Australian Open final en route to her first career Grand Slam title (Getty Images)
A long-awaited Grand Slam title, a return to world No.1 and two more prestigious WTA titles made it a 2018 season to remember for Dane Caroline Wozniacki.

On court

Almost a decade after first reaching a Grand Slam final and ascending to No.1, Caroline Wozniacki won an emotional Australian Open final against Simona Halep to finally capture a major trophy. The victory, which stretched out over almost three hours, returned Wozniacki to the rankings summit and capped a brilliant 12-month stretch; her appearance on the final weekend at Melbourne Park was her 10th final in the past year.

It proved her high point of the season; the Dane struggled to replicate those highs, failing to advance to another tournament final until June. That came at Eastbourne, where she stopped a host of excellent grasscourters – including Konta, Barty and Kerber – to hoist her second trophy of the season. After more lacklustre results, she caught fire again in Beijing, not dropping a set en route to the China Open title. She closed the season by qualifying for the WTA Finals for a sixth time, but lost two of her three group matches and failed to reach the semis.

It was in Singapore she revealed she had been struggling for months with rheumatoid arthritis, no doubt contributing to her uncharacteristically inconsistent results. But nothing could deny Wozniacki the satisfaction gleaned from her January breakthrough. And despite the peaks and troughs of 2018, she nonetheless won three of her four finals, was the second-highest money earner of any woman on tour and finished in the top three for a second straight year.

Stats

After 58 matches played in 2018, Wozniacki was:

  • No.4 in break points converted (49.8%)
  • Among the top 10 in service points won (No.7, with 60.3%)
  • Also in the top 10 for return points won (No.10) and return games won (No.9)
  • A winner in three of her four finals in 2018 (W Australian Open, Eastbourne, Beijing; R/U Auckland)
  • The second-highest prize money earner on the WTA tour, with $6.65 million

Quotes

“I think last year, already for a year and a half, I’ve proved that I can beat anyone out there on court. When you’re in the finals, I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous before going out there on court, but once I kind of settled in and we had the warm-up, I was just, like, I have everything to win.”
– reflecting on her breakthrough triumph at the Australian Open

“Honestly, I think that’s one of the most positive things about all of this. I’m never going to get that question again. I’m just waiting for the question, ‘When are you going to win the second one?’ Right now I’m just happy I have this one, and I’m going to really enjoy this moment.”
– admitting her pleasure at never having to again answer the question: ‘when will you win a Grand Slam?’

“Everyone just wants to qualify for Singapore, play there, then go on vacation, be able to relax a little bit. I think that’s kind of the goal: qualify for Singapore, play well there, finish off the season strong, then call it a year.”
– speaking at the China Open, and ready for a break at the end of a gruelling season

Off court

Wozniacki appeared on seven magazine covers this year – ESPN, Cosmopolitan, Prestige, Time & Leisure, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and Haute Living. If you missed them, she shared all of them on her Instagram page.

The Dane discussed in detail her battle with rheumatoid arthritis, with which she was diagnosed prior to the US Open after she suffered joint pain and couldn’t lift her arms above her head. “It’s been a lot to just take in. After the US Open, I just kind of had to figure out what really was going on. Some days you wake up and you can’t get out of bed and you just have to know that’s how it is, but other days you live and you’re fine. You don’t even feel like you have it. So it’s a lot,” she said. “I think when you’re a professional athlete, it’s also not even more ideal, but in the end of the day … you just kind of move on from it and work through it and figure out how to deal with it and live with it. I’m very proud of how I have been so positive through it all and just kind of tried to not let that hinder me.”

Attending other sporting events is something Wozniacki loves. In 2018 she attended a Premier league match to support her beloved Liverpool FC and also took in NBA at Madison Square Garden.

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