Wozniacki prepares for emotional farewell in Australia

Caroline Wozniacki is preparing herself for an emotional farewell at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old announced last month that the tournament which brought her a long-awaited first grand slam title in 2018 would also mark the last chapter of her career.

In an Instagram post, Wozniacki spoke of her desire to start a family with husband David Lee and raise awareness around rheumatoid arthritis, the condition she was diagnosed with in 2018.

Expanding on her decision in a press conference at Melbourne Park, the Danish player said: “I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve given it my all. Every single day I go out and I work so hard to stay at the top or to get back to the top, whatever it may be.

“It doesn’t feel the same. I still want to work hard, but I want to do something different. I want to try and achieve something else, some other things in life.

“Life is short. I know that the tennis career is short. There’s plenty of time outside to do whatever I want. At the same time, you just have to go with what feels right.”

Wozniacki is unseeded at the Australian Open having slipped to 35 in the rankings and will open her campaign on Monday against American Kristie Ahn.

She is trying not to think too much about the significance of the occasion, saying: “So far I’ve just approached it like any other tournament. But obviously it’s different since it’s my last one.

“I’m just enjoying being out there. I’ve had some great practice sessions. I’ve done everything I could to prepare as well as I can for this tournament, then hope for the best.

“So far I’m calm. I have my family here, which is great. I’m sure once the last ball is hit, it’s going to be a bit emotional.”

Wozniacki was a teenage prodigy. She turned professional at 15, made her first grand slam final aged 19 at the US Open and was ranked world number one a few months after her 20th birthday.

But a grand slam title proved elusive. She reached the final again in New York in 2014 before it all came together here two years ago, when she defeated Simona Halep in a gruelling final and regained the world number one spot.

Success has been hard to come by since, and she revealed late in 2018 that she was battling arthritis.

“Honestly, I’m leaving with no regrets at all because I’ve worked so hard my whole life, my whole career,” she said.

“I’ve given it literally everything that I have to reach where I got. I feel like I’ve given a lot to the sport that I can be very proud of.”