Caroline Wozniacki has opened up on the crippling effects of rheumatoid arthritis, an illness that forced her to retire from tennis at the age of 29.
Former World No 1 Wozniacki won her first major at the 2018 Australian Open but bid farewell to the sport two years later at the same event in Melbourne.
“I was at the height of my career in 2018 when I was diagnosed with the illness,” the Dane told Bild am Sonntag.
“2018 was supposed to be golden year, but in the run-up to the US Open I was experiencing joint pain, constant fatigue and other symptoms that I couldn’t explain. I lost games that I should have won easily. It was very difficult. I could not lift my sore arms, shoulders, elbows, hands, feet.
Happy New Year!! pic.twitter.com/ea5ASoU86A
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) January 1, 2021
“It was very difficult for me to even comb my hair and get out of bed. One day I woke up in such severe pain that my husband had to get me out of bed. I just could not move my body. I immediately sought medical attention and that was the beginning of the disease.”
Late in 2019, Wozniacki announced that she would be quitting the sport and that the 2020 Australian Open would be her last tournament. Ons Jabeur sent her into retirement with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win over Wozniacki in the third round in Melbourne.
The 30-year-old also enrolled into the Harvard Business School for a special program for professional athletes.
“I know that this suffering will accompany me throughout my life,” Wozniacki added.
“I have done a lot of research on this disease and my rhemautologist has developed a long term plan. I look forward to my future. I would like to be a mother and start a family with David. It’s my dream.”
Though she has retired from tennis, Wozniacki says she still puts the work in to stay in shape.
“I still work out about four times a week. Strength and conditioning is part of the training program I am following. I love taking long walks or running,” she said.
“I have not played much, really. I must have played about twice since I retired in January. When everything gets back to normal and the girls from the circuit are in Florida. I will play a little bit with them to catch up with everything.
“I recommend everyone to do everything for their health: eat as healthily as possible, get enough sleep, do sports in the gym or do yoga. Training helps me to listen into my body and to establish a connection with it. ”