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.
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“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.”
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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.
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“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.”
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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.
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“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. ”