Flushing Meadows, NY – Fortunately for Caroline Wozniacki, tennis is not like boxing or even her boyfriend Rory McIlroy’s sport, golf.
But she learns from both, and that’s the mark of a great player.
“You can learn a lot from all sports, actually,” she said. “You know, golf is a very mental sport because you make one mistake out in the woods somewhere and all of a sudden you can lose a tournament like this. You make a triple bogey or quadruple bogey and you’re done.
“Whereas boxing, it’s a very tough sport. You just have to be a fighter. You have to be able to stand no matter ‑‑you know, it’s not about how hard you get hit. It’s about how many times you can get hit and still be standing up.”
Today, Wozniacki delivered the knockout punch on Duan Ying-Ying of China, moving on in straight sets, 6-2 7-5.
“It was just difficult because there was a lot of wind out there,” Wozniacki said. “You know, against the wind you’re in trouble and with the wind as well you’re in a bit of trouble. So it was quite difficult. It was definitely easier to win the games with the wind.
“I just kept my focus and kept fighting for every point. She just went for it, hitting everything, and I just had to keep steady and keep running balls down.”
Wozniacki is making a sort of comeback here after an injury last year caused her to losing in the first round to the No. 96 player in the world, Irina-Camelia Begu and now she is ranked in the No. 6 seed, hoping to duplicate some past Open success.
“I always believe in that, so I never lost the belief,” she said. “There is still so many matches to go, so I just have to go one match at a time like always.
“I felt good out there. I feel like the game is where I want it to be. I love the hard courts, and playing on Arthur Ashe as my first match is great. I was really excited.
“You know, it’s just so nice to be back, and this atmosphere is amazing.”
And this year, she may have a good luck charm on her hands, her dog.
“Bruno. He’s a Pomeranian,” she said. “He is two kilos. He’s a little fluff ball and I love him. He’s the best. He’s always happy. No matter if you’ve had a bad day or great day, he doesn’t care. He runs up to you and wants to lick your face, and it’s like ‑‑ he’s funny, and he travels quite a bit, whenever I can take him.
“I haven’t had him for too long, but, yeah, I will bring him whenever I can. It’s great to have him around.”
And great to have Wozniacki back on the winning side at the Open, delivering the knockout punch.