“I felt the love” – Wozniacki reflects on the first match of her comeback
One match into her comeback, Caroline Wozniacki is feeling the love from fans and happy to have shared a special moment with her family
PublishAugust 8 10:57 pm
Some matches just hit different, and on Tuesday in Montreal, Caroline Wozniacki‘s long awaited return to the WTA Tour hit like no other match she has played before.
The 33-year-old former world No 1 took the court for the first time in three and a half years and eased past Aussie qualifier Kimberly Birrell 6-2 6-2.
“I think coming back as a 33-year-old that has played on tour for many years and doing it with my kids that now, especially the older one is starting to really understand and gets to really experience the world and different countries, I think it’s so cool.”— Caroline Wozniacki
What did Wozniacki feel when she first entered the court?
“I felt the love,” she told reporters. “I felt like the fans as well really were for me, and I had a blast out there, and it was really nice to be back out on a court where I have amazing memories from the past.”
“So special having my family here”
As a mother of two, Wozniacki is seeing life on tour with a whole new perspective. She says it is a gift to be able to play and to be able to share the experience with her husband, former NBA star David Lee, and the couple’s two children, son James and daughter Olivia.
Wozniacki: "I tried to explain to Olivia I was going to play a match, and she goes: Okay, Mama, I have a wish. I wish you win. I was like, where does she get that from?"— Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) August 8, 2023
“I’m just excited to be back and competing, and I think for me it’s so special having my family here,” she said.
“I think coming back as a 33-year-old that has played on tour for many years and doing it with my kids that now, especially the older one is starting to really understand and gets to really experience the world and different countries, I think it’s so cool.”
Father Piotr: “You’ve got to take it seriously”
Family has always been a strong part of Wozniacki’s career, and that starts with her father Piotr, a former professional footballer who has featured as her longtime coach. On Tuesday Wozniacki talked about the initial conversations she had with her dad when she realised she was going to come back to the sport.
“He was like: ‘You sure? Well, if you are sure, but you’ve got to take it seriously,'” Wozniacki said, adding: “I just looked at him and said: When do I not take stuff seriously when I put my mind to it?”
Wozniacki, who gave birth to her second child, James, last October, said her dad told her to get to work on her own, and to let him know if she still felt ready after putting her body through a training regimen again. Sure enough, she felt ready.
“He looked at me and said, that’s a good point,” the 2018 Australian Open champion said. “He goes, ‘Okay, well, go work, see how your body keeps up, and then come back to me after that – I’ll be ready if you really need me.’
“Here we are.”
3 years, 8 Months, 2 kids later! We are back baby!! Feels good to get the W today! 💪🏻— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) August 8, 2023
Like riding a bike
Wozniacki said nerves were a part of the equation in a battle with Birrell that featured some surprisingly good moments as well as some difficult ones.
“I think a little nervous going out there,” she said. “You want to have a good start, and you want to perform well, but quickly you settle in.
“It’s like riding a bike basically,” she said. “You never forget it once you’re in there, but at the same time it is different. When you play the important points or when you see an opening, you get really excited, and then you may not hit it as clean, and you are like, ah, I have to start from scratch in the rally.”
Wozniacki said that she impressed herself with some of her shotmaking – anyone who watched could see that her backhand is still a world-class shot that never breaks down.
“There’s a lot of those moments in it, but also some moments in the match where I was like, wow, I didn’t expect that coming off my racket right now.
“It was just nice to be out there playing, and it was nice competing again.”