When Caroline Wozniacki woke up with a fever and a headache yesterday morning, she knew instantly that her quest for her a first-ever Qatar Total Open title had ended even before it had started.
The Danish former World No. 1, who won her first Grand Slam – the Australian Open – last year, had flown into Doha several days ahead of the tournament to get acclimatised to the conditions at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex where she is a two-time runner-up.
In 2011, Wozniacki was beaten to the title by Russia’s Vera Zvonareva in straight sets, while in the 2017 final, she fell to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, also in two sets. Wozniacki, who is also a three-time semi-finalist here, was upbeat about playing this year’s edition, enthusiastically taking part in several social activities, such as interacting with students of Qatar Academy and attending a gala dinner organised by the Qatar Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation.
But she still summoned up the energy to address the press yesterday, admitting that her sudden illness had left her frustrated. “Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating. I have been here for quite a few days practising and just trying my best to be prepared and ready to go today. But I woke up – I already felt it last night, but I woke up today and didn’t feel well at all. Sometimes you have to make those decisions and just need to rest up, the 28-year-old said.
She said she had no option but to deal with it and move on. “You just kind of go with it. You deal with it day by day and see how you’re holding up and what you can do and what helps. You have your own little tricks that helps me. Everyone is different. It’s just about finding your own path and finding your own way. That’s really it. But today it’s just I’m feeling sick and just gonna try and get past this one first.”
Talk also turned to several players changing coaches of late, most notably Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, but Wozniacki hinted she had no intention of dumping hers – after all, he is her dad, Piotr!
“I have been with my dad for my whole career. For me, it’s about trust, it’s about knowing that they do their homework, they know the players, they know what I need. Sometimes it’s not only on the court but also off the court. It’s important to me with the support. And then I think the great thing with having my dad as my coach is that he knows me better than most people in the whole world (smiling). That’s worked for me. I don’t think I’m the right person to ask about other people’s coaching relationships, because I think that’s very individual from person to person.”
Wozniacki’s withdrawal meant her place in the main draw was taken by the ‘lucky loser” in the qualifying tournament, Australian Samantha Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion and former World No. 1 and 2012 runner-up in Doha. But Stosur couldn’t capitalise on her good fortune as she lost to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova in the first round to crash out yesterday.
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