Sports On My Terms with Caroline Wozniacki

by the editorial team at Citi | June 07, 2021

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Competing as a top-ranked athlete can come with great responsibility, and an influential place in the spotlight.

But for Caroline Wozniacki, who has achieved 30 WTA singles titles, the decision to retire from the sport in 2020 served up new opportunities — this time, off the court.

After leaving the sport, Wozniacki is preparing for an exciting first — motherhood and the birth of a baby girl. Wozniacki plans to empower her daughter with the strength and independence that she developed throughout her career.

Caroline also plans to pass along words of wisdom that her parents instilled in her: 1) "Be a good person, be a great leader, and be a good role model.", and 2) “Continue working hard and giving it your all, and that's all you can do. Just do your best every single day and there's really no limits to what you can achieve."

“For me it’s so important to let her know that her gender doesn’t determine whether or not she can be what she wants to be,” she says. Throughout Wozniacki’s impressive career, she has not only built a name for herself, but put women athletes and their voices in the spotlight, too.

Wozniacki’s career was built upon relentless hard work, even before she turned pro at 15 years old. While she received unconditional support from family and friends, she had to overcome public doubt and criticisms. “Every time I broke a goal, they kept telling me there was something more I couldn’t do,” Wozniacki says. “I think that always fired me up and my determination kept me going.”

Her grit paid off earning her the title of WTA World No. 1 in 2010 and 2011 — and the first woman from a Scandinavian country to hold the position. In 2020, she retired at the top of her game despite a battle with rheumatoid arthritis. Caroline’s path to an official diagnosis became its own tumultuous journey after she felt her symptoms were being dismissed. “I thought to myself, if I’m not being taken seriously, and I’m supposed to have great doctors just taking care of athletes, the normal woman coming into the doctor is definitely not going to be taken seriously,” she says.

While she received unconditional support from family and friends, she had to overcome public doubt and criticisms.
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Though she may have stepped off the court, Wozniacki has transferred her leadership platform to become an advocate for patients going through similar experiences. “We built a community where women, and men, can tell their story, and get women to feel their best,” she says about co-launching a global campaign, Advantage Hers, which seeks to ensure women living with chronic inflammatory diseases have access to treatment.

Her determination to succeed after her diagnosis now serves as an inspiration to others: managing life’s challenges doesn’t put a stop to pursuing your dreams.

Caroline’s advice to young athletes aspiring to follow in her footsteps:

“You need to want this and be willing to work extremely hard. If you're willing to put in the hours, if you're willing to do what it takes and work hard, then the sky is the limit. There really is no limit to what you can achieve. You also need a good support system around you, whether that's your parents or a coach that you really trust. You will need someone there that can guide you and be there for you in the ups and the downs. Because yeah, you can get far by yourself, but you can't go all the way.”

Watch the video above for more of Wozniacki’s empowering story.