'I brought the tissues just in case': Wozniacki waves goodbye

  • Alex Sharp

It was the “fitting” end for one of the fiercest fighters to take to the court.
 
Caroline Wozniacki’s glittering career came to a close at Melbourne Park after one final epic, with Ons Jabeur clinching her finest triumph with a 7-5 3-6 7-5 victory.

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2018 champion Wozniacki had announced the Australian Open would be her last tournament, 15 years after making her WTA tour debut.
 
With the final point over, the tears began to flow, but the Dane managed to embrace the occasion with a sense of humour.

“I brought the tissues just in case,” quipped the former world No.1 during her on court interview.

“I think it was only fitting that my last match was a three-setter, a grinder and that I would finish my career with a forehand error!
 
“Those are the things I’ve been working on my whole career. I guess this was meant to be.”

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Caroline Wozniacki during her final match

Heading back to the locker room, Wozniacki was “feeling the love” from fellow players coming up to congratulate her, with excitement, sadness all blended in with “flashbacks to since I was a kid to this moment.”

Sitting in her final press conference, the 29-year-old reflected on her last duel.

“I'm always that person that even when I'm down a lot, I've always believed that I can come back and win. I don't think it mattered for me so much what the score was. I think throughout the match, there was a couple of times where I was like, ‘Shoot, this could be my last one. I don't want it to be the last one. I want to be out there fighting.’ I fought like my life depended on it. It is just what it is,” said the Dane.

“I think the result today doesn't matter to me as much as the way that I fought, that I gave it everything… that’s what I’m known for.”

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Ons Jabeur was too good for Caroline Wozniacki on Friday

Wozniacki had fought back from two breaks down in both sets in her second-round encounter and battled back from the brink again on Melbourne Arena.

World No.78 Jabeur raced 3-0 ahead in the decider, but in archetypal fashion, Wozniacki found a way to push for the finish line.
 
Jabeur just about prevailed and it was left for Wozniacki to take the mic on court to celebrate a trophy-laden career of 30 titles, including her maiden major at the Australian Open two years ago.
 
“Obviously the achievements I had on the court were amazing. The fans, the feelings you guys give us when we play out here, the support feels really amazing,” continued Wozniacki, before a lap of appreciation with ‘Sweet Caroline’ booming from the speakers.
 
“The support I’ve had from my family, especially my dad (Piotr) who has coached me since I was seven. I usually don’t cry,” Wozniacki joked, wiping away the tears. 

“Those are the special memories I will always cherish, the journey together, it’s been really amazing, a great ride. I really am happy, I’m ready for the next chapter, I’m really excited for what’s to come. You’ll see me around off the court.”

The Dane is renowned as one of the toughest competitors on court, for her dogged determination and astonishing consistency.
 
“I don’t have much experience here, so I was a little bit nervous at the end. She always plays unbelievable, she runs really good,” said Jabeur, after making a maiden Grand Slam fourth round, before praising the retiring Wozniacki.
 
“So I’m really happy that I played you Caro, you are such an inspiration for me and many players. I’ve been lucky enough to be on tour with you.”
 
With friends and family joining Wozniacki on court, it was time for her dad Piotr to lift his daughter in the air to savour an astonishing career.

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'Caro' has always been a fan favourite

“I've learnt so much. I wouldn't be the person I am today without all those experiences,” added Wozniacki, who spent 71 weeks as world No.1.

“I think the main thing I've learned is no matter where you're from, no matter what colour of your skin, no matter if you're tall or short, big or small, doesn't matter. If you have a dream and you go for it and work hard, anything is possible.

“I had a dream when I was a kid. I wanted to win a Grand Slam. I wanted to be No.1 in the world. People thought that I was crazy being from a small country. But I made it happen. I worked so hard for it every single day.

“I'm very, very proud of that.”