Five thoughts on Caroline Wozniacki’s first-round defeat at the US Open.
Could there be a worse time to launch an underwear range called ‘This Is Me’? She’s plainly lost her mojo (for now). Wozniacki’s defeats no longer have the same shock value – was anyone truly astonished by losing to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu in New York City? It’s not as if it was the first time this year, a year which started with the Dane as the world number one, that she has lost in the opening round of a slam, since it also happened a couple of months ago at Wimbledon. So that’s two slams in succession now that she has lost in the first round, and it’s already got the look of a dangerous spiral. Wozniacki has had a rough year. “I tried,” said Wozniacki, whose movement was restricted by a knee injury she sustained at a tournament in New Haven last week.
Will Wozniacki persist with Thomas Johansson, the former Australian Open champion she hired at the start of the summer? Wozniacki has shown this year, when Ricardo Sanchez was ditched after a couple of months, that she can be ruthless in the workplace.
Having started the year on top of the rankings, there is every chance that Wozniacki, a runner-up to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open, could end the year outside the top 10.
Don’t blame the golfing boyfriend or the lingerie line. No one should doubt Wozniacki’s work ethic. Or wonder whether, with Rory McIlroy as her boyfriend, and with an underwear collection to be launched soon, she has lost her focus. Enjoying a happy personal life, and off-court commercial success, doesn’t stop you winning matches – take Maria Sharapova, who is engaged to be married, is the richest sportswoman in the world, and who this year completed her career slam. There aren’t many players in the women’s game who work as hard as Wozniacki does.
For all the pain in her knee, plus any mental difficulties that armchair and bleacher psychologists might choose to diagnose her with, even a healthy and focused Wozniacki would have struggled to win the US Open. Until she develops a weapon with which to hurt the elite, it is highly unlikely she will ever win a slam. Still, whoever thought Johansson would ever win a major?