Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki has announced her retirement from professional tennis today. The Danish star will end her career after next month's Australian Open - the site of her greatest triumph when she lifted her first Grand Slam trophy in 2018.
"I've accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court," wrote the Dane. "I've always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it's time to be done. In recent months, I've realized that there is a lot more in life that I'd like to accomplish off the court. Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.
"So with that, today I am announcing that I will be retiring from professional tennis after the Australian Open in January. This has nothing to do with my health and this isn't a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!
"Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!"
Wozniacki spent 71 weeks at the top of the WTA Rankings in total - the ninth-highest total since the inception of computer rankings. She first ascended to the summit at the age of 20 in October 2010 off the back of a 10-match winning streak that garnered her the Tokyo and Beijing titles, her fifth and sixth titles that year, and last occupied the top spot in February 2018 after capturing her sole major title at the Australian Open.
For over a decade, Wozniacki was a fixture at the top of the game, with her doughty defensive skills winning her at least one trophy every year between 2008 and 2018. Her tally to date is 30, including three Premier Mandatory titles - Indian Wells 2011 and Beijing 2010 and 2018 - and a triumph at the 2017 WTA Finals in Singapore.
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Finishing 11 consecutive seasons inside the Top 20, Wozniacki was also a consistent presence in the second week of every Grand Slam - particularly the US Open, where she reached the final in 2009 and 2014 and the semifinals in 2010, 2011 and 2016. Only at Wimbledon did a quarterfinal showing elude her, despite six fourth-round finishes.
Yet despite the success, Wozniacki's road to becoming a Grand Slam champion was a long and arduous one. In 2016, injuries and poor form saw her ranking fall to World No.74 - a low point that turned out to be a springboard for a grand comeback, with a last-four run at the US Open and a title in Tokyo helping her to soar nearly 60 spots in just over two months.
That determination was on full display during an Australian Open title run that vindicated her decade of plugging away. After saving two match points against Jana Fett in the second round, Wozniacki would face the World No.1, Simona Halep - with a maiden Grand Slam title on the line for both after a combined four losses in major finals. It was appropriate, given the tenacity and stamina that had defined Wozniacki's career, that she would eventually pull it out 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 after two hours and 49 minutes of grinding through in punishing heat.
Read more: Wozniacki captures Australian Open crown in classic
Though Wozniacki would win another two titles in 2018, in Eastbourne and Beijing, there was a sense that the Australian Open was the culmination of her career arc. That summer, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis - and though Wozniacki continued to battle through the condition valiantly, its impact on her movement, her greatest asset, has been unmistakeable. She would end 2019 at World No.38, her lowest year-end placement since 2007, and has not reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning in Melbourne two years ago.
Yet despite being slowed on court, Wozniacki's fortunes off court have risen. In June this year, she married fiancé David Lee in Tuscany, with fellow players Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska in attendance at the ceremony.
Wozniacki's last showings on the professional circuit will bring her full circle next month, where she will conclude her career with appearances in Auckland and the Australian Open.