Friday 27 April 2018

Tennis: Rory is not the problem -- Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki shows her disappointment at losing at Wimbledon
Caroline Wozniacki shows her disappointment at losing at Wimbledon

Mattias Karen

Caroline Wozniacki thinks her recent slump and slide in the rankings has more to do with bad luck than bad tennis -- and that it certainly isn't related to her relationship with golfer Rory McIlroy.

The former top-ranked Dane wasted two match points in the second set before losing to Tamira Paszek of Austria in the first round of Wimbledon yesterday, perhaps her most disappointing result in a season that has seen a lot of them.

Wozniacki has yet to win a title this year, was eliminated in the third round of the French Open and lost her first match at the grass-court warm-up tournament at Eastbourne this month as well.

Having ended both 2010 and 2011 as the world's top-ranked woman -- albeit without ever winning a major -- she has fallen to No 7. So, could it be that her highly publicised relationship with McIlroy -- which began a year ago -- could be affecting her tennis? "No," was the short and terse answer from Wozniacki when asked.

Instead, she pointed to factors like luck and the fact that Paszek hit two balls on the line when saving one of her match points.

"I didn't think it was a bad match today," Wozniacki said. "You're going through periods where you're lucky, the luck is turning your way, you're not playing great, but you win the matches anyway. You go through periods where it's just not going your way. You just need to get through this. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, it will start turning my way."

Paszek certainly wasn't an easy first-round opponent, having just won Eastbourne for her third WTA title. Against Wozniacki on Centre Court, she hit two winners to save the Dane's match points when trailing 5-4 in the second set. Paszek then erased an early break in the decider, but failed to serve out the match at 5-3, only to break the seventh-seeded Wozniacki again to clinch a 5-7 7-6 6-4 victory.

"I had over two years where I was winning these matches," Wozniacki said. "I feel lately it's going the other way a little bit. It's not the first match this year where I have had match points and didn't win. It's frustrating, obviously. But that's tennis."

The match was halted because of rain on Tuesday with the score at 2-2 in the first set and it was interrupted again by showers that forced organisers to slide the retractable roof over Centre Court. The match lasted three hours, 12 minutes -- nearly two hours longer than Roger Federer's straight-sets win over Fabio Fognini in the preceding match.

"It was a good match, good tennis, but that doesn't really help me. I lost in the first round," Wozniacki said.


"Tomorrow, no one will remember how great a match it was, they'll just remember who won. It's not a nice feeling. Those are some of the matches that it's really great when you win them, but also really sucks when you lose. Especially after having two match points and not taking them."

Elsewhere, US Open champion Samantha Stosur was upset by Aranxta Rus, a former top-ranked junior player from the Netherlands, 6-2 0-6 6-4. The 72nd-ranked Rus, who comes from a Dutch town called Monster, knocked four-time major singles champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium out of the second round of the French Open last year.

Fifth ranked Stosur is the highest seed to lose so far at the championships. Her defeat means there are no Australians left in either singles draw, the country's worst result since tennis turned professional in 1968.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Clijsters beat Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-3 in her second-round match.


Live, BBC1/BBC2/TG4 from 11.30

Irish Independent

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