Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Caroline Wozniacki's fine career ends in defeat at Australia Open as Serena Williams also crashes out

Danish former world No1 loses to Ons Jabeur on an emotional day in Melbourne

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki  with her husband David Lee and father Piotr at the Australian Open in Melbourne. AFP
Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki  with her husband David Lee and father Piotr at the Australian Open in Melbourne. AFP

It was a tearful end to former world No1 Caroline Wozniacki's fine career as she lost in the Australian Open on Friday.

Wozniacki had announced in December that this would be her final tournament but there was to be no grand farewell as she lost to Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.

Wozniacki, 29, ends her career with 30 WTA titles, her sole grand slam triumph coming in 2018 at Melbourne Park. She was in tears after her defeat to 78th-ranked Jabeur.

"I was told there are tissues here. I see the tissues in case I need them, I think I'm cried out," said the Dane.

She was given a generous reception by Melbourne crowd after hitting her last shot in tennis.

"I finished my career with a forehand error. Those are the things I've been working on my whole career," she joked.

Holding back her tears, Wozniacki added: "Guess this is just how it was meant to be."

Wozniacki, who made her professional debut in 2005, was carried across court by her father and coach Piotr. She hugged husband David Lee, the former NBA star, as Neil Diamond's hit song "Sweet Caroline" was played at the court.

Wozniacki finished 2010 and 2011 as world No1, and rose to top of the rankings again in 2018, the year she won the Australian Open.

But later that year she revealed that she was suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes fatigue and joint pain. She insists that had nothing to do with her decision to leave tennis and says she hopes to start a family.

Defeat for Wozniacki, minutes before Serena Williams's shock loss to Wang Qiang, deprived the close friends of an emotional meeting in the fourth round. Williams also cried when asked about Wozniacki's retirement. "She came into the locker room afterwards, we were both kind of bummed about our matches," said the American, 38.

"I can't play like that," said Williams about her third round upset by rank outsider Qiang.

The seven-time Melbourne champion stumbled to her earliest exit at the tournament in 14 years with an error-strewn 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5 loss to 27th seed Wang that raised queries about her hopes of chasing down Margaret Court's record major titles.

The defeat at Rod Laver Arena came less than four months after Williams trounced Wang 6-1, 6-0 in the US Open quarter-finals.

"If we were just honest with ourselves, it's all on my shoulders. I lost that match. So it is what it is," Williams told reporters after racking up 56 unforced errors next to 43 winners.

"Like I said, it's not about the tournament, it's just like I can't play like that. Like, I literally can't do that again. That's unprofessional. It's not cool."

Updated: January 24, 2020 01:08 PM

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