Caroline Wozniacki threw kisses at the audience and wiped tears of joy from her eyes on the bench. At the US Open, the Danish tennis star celebrated his greatest emotional success since coming back as a mother of two after a break of more than three and a half years – and was already looking forward to his children again.

“A dream becomes true”

“It couldn’t be better, a dream comes true,” enthused the 33-year-old late in the evening (local time) at New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium after beating Petra Kvitova 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). second round. “If you had asked me three years ago, I would have said that I will never stand on this court again.”

After retiring in January 2020, the former world number one had become a mother twice, this year she decided to return. Before the US Open she had only managed one win in two preparatory tournaments, now she defeated a top 20 player in the world for the first time since 2018 with the number eleven seeded Czech.

Wozniacki showed a strong performance and was also in top form in terms of running. Around her neck dangled two gold chains with names in italics: Olivia, for her two-year-old daughter, and James, for her ten-month-old son. “I’m so happy that tomorrow I can relax with the kids and train for an hour,” said Wozniacki, looking happily at her family with husband David Lee, a former NBA basketball pro, in the stands. On Friday (local time) the American Jennifer Brady will play for the round of 16.

The 2018 Australian Open winner reported in New York on the life of a professional athlete with children. Because her daughter Olivia didn’t want to stop playing tennis with soft balls, she spent a day in the hotel room until lunch, Wozniacki said. As she was about to say goodbye to the Flushing Meadows compound one morning, the two-year-old asked, “Mom, mom, can I go to work with you? I want to be like you, I want to play tennis.” Those are the cute things.”

Particular challenge due to autoimmune disease

But the comeback is also associated with a special challenge for Wozniacki. Five years ago, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints, among other things. The disease cannot be cured, but can be treated well if diagnosed in good time.

“It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life,” Wozniacki said at this US Open. Dealing with the disease is easier without professional sport because the stress level can be better dosed. “It’s a bit more challenging when you’re playing at a very, very high level against the best players in the world.”

Among those in the tournament are other mothers such as Ukraine’s Yelina Switolina and Taylor Townsend of the USA. Before the comeback, she also exchanged views with superstar Serena Williams, said Wozniacki. The American also resumed her sport after the birth of her daughter. “She supports me in everything I do. She said it’s very cool that I’m coming back.”

When Wozniacki trained again at the French Open, Tatjana Maria had already expected the Dane to make a comeback. “That’s what we need,” said the 36-year-old, who has two daughters. “We need more moms on tour and I’m so happy for every mom who comes back.”

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