MELBOURNE, Australia - Caroline Wozniacki had just one word to summarize her last Friday afternoon as a professional tennis player.
"I think what happened today was perfect."
After battling for over two hours in the midday Australian sun, the 2018 champion succumbed to Tunisian's Ons Jabeur in three sets in the third round of the Australian Open to close the book on a decorated professional career that lasted nearly 15 years.
After the match, Wozniacki was joined by her family for a special on-court ceremony, which culminated with a special tribute video with memories from her peers.
"It was a packed stadium," she continued. "People stood up. There was 'Sweet Caroline' through the microphones. People were clapping. I had the Danish flag at my back. I had my family there. I had people closest to me [who] were all here, or watching on TV and supporting me.
"I don't think I could have scripted it any better. I think it was the perfect moment."
Since the Dane announced in December that she'd retire at the year's first Grand Slam, it remained to be seen just how she'd be sent off into the sunset at Melbourne Park--but with thousands of spectators present to say their goodbyes to her in the stadium, all she needed was to hold just a few of them close.
"I'm not a big crier, but I think when the family came down, I saw my dad pacing himself, that's what he does when he tries not to get emotional. Then my mom was bawling. She had sunglasses on. My brother was shaking. I think that caught me. I got emotional," she said.
"Obviously, looking at [husband] David [Lee] just smiling, crying, being excited all at once... I think it was just a very special moment. I just tried to take it all in. It's probably going to be a moment I will never forget.
"I love Melbourne. It's such a special place in my heart. I got my Grand Slam here. I have amazing fans. It's known as the Happy Slam. I'm very, very happy that I could finish my career here. It means everything to me."
Long before she was ranked World No.1 for 71 weeks, Wozniacki debuted on the WTA in 2005, became the first Danish woman to win a Tour-level title three years later, and over the next decade-plus, she not only ascended to being a stalwart at the top of her sport, but an inspiration for all in her country.
However, despite all the trophies on her mantle, and her name dotting the history books, the Dane believes that her legacy is something more intangible.
Read more: WTA celebrates career of Caroline Wozniacki
"I hope that people will think of me as a hard worker, someone that gave it everything every single day," she reflected.
"I hope that I'll give inspiration even to the players from small countries that may have never had a World No. 1 or a Grand Slam champion, someone in the Top 10, that they can do it.
"I hope that I'll leave some happiness around the locker room. It's a very tough environment. It's a hard environment. It's an individual sport. Everyone wants to be the best. I hope that I gave some excitement and release and some happiness in the locker room with the chats and the fun talks we've had."
And after taking the time to look back at what she'll leave behind on the WTA, Wozniacki also reflected on what she'll take with her.
"I've learned so much. I wouldn't be the person I am today without all those experiences," she said.
"I think the main thing I've learned is no matter where you're from, no matter what color of your skin, no matter if you're tall or short, big or small, doesn't matter. If you have a dream and you go for it and work hard, anything is possible.
"I had a dream when I was a kid. I wanted to win a Grand Slam. I wanted to be No. 1 in the world. People thought that I was crazy being from a small country, but I made it happen. I worked so hard for it every single day.
"I'm very, very proud of that."