French Open 2014: Caroline Wozniacki beaten in first match since split from Rory McIlroy
Former World No 1 fails to make it past first round at French Open
There will be no "Wentworth moment" for Caroline Wozniacki. Days after her fiancé, the golfer Rory McIlroy, put aside the pain of their parting to win the BMW PGA Championship, Wozniacki lost here in the first round of the French Open. The 23-year-old Dane was beaten 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 by Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, who stands 50 places beneath her at No 64 in the world rankings.
Although nobody had expected Wozniacki to win the tournament, this was a disappointing performance even by her declining standards. The world No 14, who has won just one title in the last 19 months, was regularly outrallied and outhit by Wickmayer, a powerful if erratic ball-striker.
Wozniacki, who has had knee and wrist injuries recently, said afterwards: "I guess I'm getting old. It's like a car that is 10 years old. All of sudden it starts breaking down. It was great at the beginning and now it needs a service more often."
Facing the media for the first time since McIlroy announced last week that their wedding was off, Wozniacki did not want to talk about her private life but offered thanks for her many messages of support. The former world No 1 went on to say she was "not prepared for something like this and it came as a bit of a shock".
Nevertheless, Wozniacki said she had not considered pulling out of the tournament. "I always wanted to play here," she said. "You need to just keep going and keep moving forward. This is what I do. This is my profession."
Wozniacki appears determined to put a brave face on her situation. She was out on the town on Sunday night with her good friend, Serena Williams, and could hardly have chosen a brighter outfit out on Court Two. On a chilly afternoon Wozniacki wore a bright green skirt and an orange, white and pink long-sleeved top.
While Wickmayer had the support of her fellow Belgian, Kim Clijsters, Wozniacki's entourage was led by her father, Piotr, who is also her coach. "I think your family will always be there for you no matter what happens," Wozniacki said. "I think it's great to have that base or that support so close to you."
Chris Evert, who knows all about the pain of failed engagements after her wedding to Jimmy Connors was called off in 1974, expressed sympathy with Wozniacki. The six-times French Open champion, now a commentator for ESPN, said she was not surprised by Wozniacki's break-up.
"I look back at Jimmy and I," Evert said. "To look at two players that are in the prime of their career and are striving to be No 1 and don't see each other… I was married in my twenties to my tennis. That was the only way I could put all my emotions and energies into that goal. I was in awe that it worked as long as it did. I can't believe it.
"They must be just different kind of people. I understand 100 per cent that you're married to your career. You're using your emotions. You're using the mental capacity that you have. You're putting everything into it. That's what it takes to be the best."
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