By Fatih Erel
ISTANBUL (AA) - Tennis champion Caroline Wozniacki ended her 15-year career Friday at age 29 to raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet as the body’s immune system is not working properly.
The former No. 1 was diagnosed in 2018.
"l’ve played professionally since I was 15 years old. In that time I’ve experienced an amazing first chapter of my life. With 30 WTA singles titles, a world #1 ranking for 71 weeks, a WTA Finals victory, three Olympics, including carrying the flag for my native Denmark, and winning the 2018 Australian Open Grand slam championship, I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court," she said after losing in a three-set match against Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the Australian Open.
"I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court," the Danish star said.
"Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis are all passions of mine moving forward," she added.
Wozniacki began playing in grand slams since 2007 and had 70% career wins. She won 599 games in singles but lost 256.
She made her professional debut in 2005 and earned her first grand slam title at the 2018 Australian Open, beating Romanian national Simona Halep in the final.
The Australian Open website said Wozniacki has been living in Monte Carlo, Monaco and during her career she earned $35.2 million in prize money.
She captured her first WTA title in 2008 – the first by a Danish woman.
"I congratulate Caroline on her outstanding career in professional tennis as she steps away as a true champion and fantastic ambassador of our sport," WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said Friday.
According to WTA statistics, Wozniacki's key statistics and notable achievements are as follows:
- 71 weeks as WTA World No.1 – First ascended to top spot week of Oct. 11, 2010
- Two-time Year-End No.1 – 2010, 2011
- Eight Top 10 season finishes
- 30 singles titles and two doubles titles
- One Grand Slam – 2018 Australian Open
- Two-time US Open runner-up – 2009, 2014
- WTA Finals singles champion in 2017
- Won at least one singles title 11 years straight from 2008 through 2018
- Prize money of over $35 million
- WTA Most Impressive Newcomer – 2008
- Three-time Olympian
- Flag-bearer for Denmark at Rio in 2016
- Junior champion at 2006 Wimbledon