Dubai: Former champion Caroline Wozniacki departed from Dubai with a lot of hope that things will pick up for her during the remainder of the season.
Wozniacki has been a regular at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships since her debut in 2010.
Since then, the Dane has gone on to win in 2011, and finish as runner-up in 2017, with four successive semi-final appearances between 2012 to 2015.
Gutted at having to pull out of this week’s event just before her match on Monday against Stefanie Voegele due to illness, Wozniacki promised she would be doing everything possible to be at her best.
The same viral illness had forced the Danish former world No. 1 to withdraw from last week’s Qatar Open.
The 28-year-old world No. 10 has not had a flourishing start to the season after falling in the second round at the Auckland Open and then losing in the third round as defending champion at the Australian Open.
“Yeah, it sucks, if we’re being honest,” Wozniacki said in a hastily arranged meeting with media before she departed the UAE.
“I prepared and I got ready to play these two weeks [Doha and Dubai], the two weeks I usually play well in. It’s two hard-court tournaments. They fit my game well. It’s good speed for my game. I was hoping that maybe taking a little bit of time to myself and just trying to recover, I was hoping I was going to be ready to play today. I just wasn’t.
“I have to be fair to myself, as well. If I can’t even play at a reasonable level, there’s no reason for me to go out there and just play one set. I want to go out there and I want to win. Every time I play a match, I think I can beat the opponent, I think I can win the tournament. I don’t feel like that right now.”
Wozniacki has had a busy time in Dubai earlier in the week. As Dubai Duty Free Ambassador, she spent a major part of Monday visiting the Burj Khalifa while also spending some time showing her fans around Jumeirah Creekside Hotel and all the facilities available for players on-site.
“It hasn’t been the greatest start, the start that I’d hoped for,” she added. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is that I’m healthy, I can do everything with my health. After that, tennis comes second. If I’m healthy, I can play well. If I’m not healthy, there’s nothing I can do. At this point I just need to try and stay healthy. I need to just try to do everything possible so that I can get back to where I want to be.
“I’m getting better slowly. I’m just getting over it. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m just taking it day by day. Just have to try to be smart about it.”
Wozniacki’s next tournament will be the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells starting on March 6. “It’s just one of those things. You can’t do anything about it. I just have to stay positive, try and do everything in my power to get better. Then Indian Wells, Miami is right around the corner, but thankfully not right around the corner. I’m hoping to be hundred per cent for both of those. I’ll just go out there and do my best.”