Wozniacki confident she can handle her rheumatoid arthritis as she returns to top-level tennis

The Dane is playing her first Grand Slam event since coming out of retirement

Caroline Wozniacki smiling Zuma / Panoramic
US Open •First round • completed
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When Caroline Wozniacki announced she would be retiring from the sport in late 2018, the Dane explained that her rheumatoid arthritis was making life too uncomfortable for her to want to continue.

Less than a year after she won her first Grand Slam title in such dramatic style, Wozniacki had simply had enough, having played on Tour and at the very top level for well over a decade.

As the former world No 1 prepares to play her first slam since returning to the Tour earlier this month, many questions will be answered in due course; especially whether she can return to the top of the sport, whether she can win another slam title.

But perhaps more importantly, it’s about how she will be able to balance her off-court commitments – two children will bring their own demands – and also deal with an illness that is tough to handle for anyone, let alone a professional athlete.

“I’m pretty confident I can keep my body in check”

“Well, I still have my RA,” she told reporters at Flushing Meadows on Friday. “It’s still something that I have to live with for the rest of my life.

“Obviously when I wasn’t playing, it was much easier to manage. You can kind of control the stress you put on your body, your own schedule, sleep, everything else. Obviously that’s a little more challenging when you’re playing at a very, very high level against the best players in the world.

“I think I’m pretty confident in the fact that I can keep my body in check. I think the more you kind of learn about your body, you know what triggers, what you can do to kind of feel better quickly. So it’s something that I’m dealing with on a daily basis.

“In general I feel pretty good and my body feels pretty good. So far it hasn’t been an issue coming back here with that part of it. Every day is different. Every day is new. I can’t predict after playing multiple matches, going far into a tournament, how my body is going to react. But so far so good.”

Wozniacki in it for the long haul

At 33, Wozniacki is not young by tennis standards but seeing the likes of Venus Williams, at 43, still playing, and several other mothers on Tour has been an inspiration, she says.

Providing she does not suffer from any serious injuries and providing her rheumatoid arthritis does not flare up badly, she plans to be around the Tour for the forseeable future.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to play for,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be a year, two years, three years. I can’t predict the future.

“I also realise that I’m not that young anymore. I’m 33…I’m just enjoying being here in the moment. I hope for a great tournament. I’m definitely planning on playing a lot more next year, playing more of a full schedule.”

Woziacki, twice a runner-up at the US Open, will begin her campaign against a qualifier.

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