A former star tennis player has announced that she will make her official return to competition at the National Bank Open next August.
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who announced her retirement from sport in 2020, confirmed the information in an article published in Vogue magazine on Thursday morning. The Danish player, who won the Montreal tournament in 2010, will thus receive a pass for the main draw of the event.
“At the age of 20, I won my first major title in Montreal, so it was a logical choice for the start of the second chapter of my career. I can’t wait to hit the courts and compete against the best players in the world. I missed it tremendously,” Wozniacki said in a statement from Tennis Canada.
A decision that obviously pleased the tournament director, Valérie Tétreault.
“We are delighted that Caroline (Wozniacki) is back on the WTA Tour and in Montreal,” she said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press. She has done so much for tennis, on and off the court, and we are honored that she has chosen our tournament for her return to play.”
The decision leading to his return to the court, however, was not made in a snap.
“Three years ago, after achieving almost all my goals, I left the professional circuit (WTA). I wanted to start a family, and take a break. I didn’t know how long this break would be,” Wozniacki told the magazine.
“Then, towards the end of last year, I decided to book some on-court training sessions. And when my dad visited me in Florida, I realized I needed some advice. I hit balls for 20 or 30 minutes – I don’t know how long, but at some point I looked at him and said, ‘I feel like I’m better than I ever was. Am I dreaming or is it true?” »
“So I’m going to play the US Open. I’m addicted to the effervescent atmosphere of New York, and I played it so well for a long time. Plus, David played for the New York Knicks for five seasons — we love this city. I will start by going to Montreal to find my bearings, then I will go to New York. After that, I will have a few months to prepare for the Australian Open, then we will see what happens next. The Paris Olympics are obviously part of my goals,” she told the prestigious magazine.
Tétreault, who has faced Wozniacki before in the junior ranks — and who didn’t miss the opportunity to point out that she had already beaten her once, by the way — tried to limit tennis fans’ expectations of the Dane’s level of play.
“The good news is that she’s been back in training for several months already — she told me that she trained with several active players on the WTA Tour, including Petra Kvitova —, afterwards, it is certain that there is nothing that can reproduce the intensity of a real match. It would just be normal if we didn’t have too, too high expectations of her for her return, but she will come here with new energy,” Tétreault said.
The one who succeeded Eugène Lapierre at the head of the National Bank Open has obviously not yet been able to measure the repercussions of the announcement of Wozniacki’s return to competition on ticket sales for her event, but she nevertheless believes that there will be one.
“It’s certainly not impossible, because she was a player who was adored by the public, who had her supporters. I think wherever she decides to go — that’s why we’re lucky she chose Montreal to make her comeback — she’s going to attract tennis fans. There will probably be a few curious people who will want to say that they were there for Wozniacki’s first game, “she said.
Wozniacki was ranked No. 1 in the world in singles in 2010, and won the Australian Open title in 2018. In total, she has won 30 career singles titles on the WTA Tour.
After this victory, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that caused her severe pain. It seems that her health issues are now behind her.
Wozniacki became the first player to officially join the National Bank Open roster. The tournament organizing committee will reveal the rest of the list of participants on July 13. In addition, another top 20 bye and three more tournament byes to be awarded to Canadian women will be announced closer to the competition.
The National Bank Open will take place from August 7 to 13 in Montreal.