NEW YORK — Who has time for coffee?
Nearing noon, the number-five ranked player sounded a little zapped after what had been “a busy productive morning” — in the gym at 7 a.m. followed by a few hours of practice. In a phone interview, Wozniacki said of the highly competitive field, “I think everyone is tough. There are a lot of great players out there. I’m just going to keep my head down, believe in myself and hope for the best that I can do good. I believe if you are well prepared and you feel good, everything is going to fall into place and work out.”
Maria Sharapova will be back in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first time since her 15-month doping suspension. “She got a wild card so, you know, we’ll see. She’ll have to work her way back up. But obviously, she’s a good player and she’ll find her way,” Wozniacki said.
Balancing her own fame and publicity with social media requires a different kind of serve. In January, she blasted ex-fiancé, golfer Rory McIlroy, to move on. Now with San Antonio Spurs player David Lee, Wozniacki said, “I still do things I want to do and try to live my life as normally as possible. I know what I’m up to and the people closest to me. Obviously, I like to keep my fans and supporters in the loop about some things that I do. I like to keep my most private things private and go from there.”
As players’ lives and personal struggles increasingly become part of post-match press conferences, Wozniacki was asked if such incidents as the fatal car accident that Venus Williams was involved with earlier this year should be fair game. “I don’t know. It’s a very tough subject and I think she addressed it. It’s a hard question for me to answer. Obviously, it was an accident,” she said.
Wozniacki, who recently praised Williams for how she handles stress, is part of the Women’s Tennis Association’s elite tier. As her 1.1 million Instagram followers know, she was in Kraków, Poland, earlier this summer for the wedding of fellow pros Agnieszka Radwanska and Dawid Celt — as was sixth–ranked Angelique Kerber. Friends with Radwanska since the age of seven, the Danish-born Wozniacki said of the WTA’s level of camaraderie, “It depends. I’m great friends with Serena Williams. She’s awesome. It’s like any other workplace. There are some people you really bond with and others that you don’t really talk to much. Everyone is nice, but everyone is there to win.”
Wozniacki’s summer travels included beach breaks in Portofino and Sardinia, Italy. Her swimsuit-ready physique was featured in Sports Illustrated’s 2017 Swimsuit Issue, which made her the first athlete to appear in it three times. She also landed the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue. The reaction to Dewey Nicks’ nude shots of her has been “mostly positive,” she said. “As an athlete, you work hard on your body, and it has to be in tip-top shape in order to perform. My body is built so that I can perform the best that I can on the tennis court.…The shoot was difficult for sure. It was something that I’d never done before. It was a little nerve-wracking but at the end of the day, I am proud of it.”
The objectification of female athletes is a recurring media topic, but Wozniacki didn’t have any reservations about either photo shoot. “To be honest with you, I really care about what the people closest to me think — my friends and my family,” she said. “If you get opportunities that are awesome like Sports Illustrated, which I would do over and over and over again, it’s definitely worth doing. Everybody can have their opinion, but I think it was awesome.”
Eight years after signing with Adidas, the 27-year-old ace gave McCartney high marks. “Stella McCartney and Adidas kind of started ath-leisure,” she said. “Over the years we’ve tried a lot of different things and we know what works. If you look back at all the collections, you can see a big difference. Stella’s always open to listening to opinions, what works and what doesn’t work.”
This year, the designer created a vibrant pink, red and orange high-neck, A-line-inspired tennis dress with a flared skirt for the U.S. Open. Off-the-court hoodies with “nice” leggings or crop tops with high-waisted pants are the athlete’s go-to looks. Events call for simple elegant dresses from McCartney’s signature line, Alice + Olivia or Victoria Beckham.
Noncommittal about Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Games, Wozniacki was also unsure about running 26.2 miles again, as she did in 2014 at the New York Marathon. “Once I finished the marathon I said, ‘Never again.’ I’m starting to come around to the idea of maybe doing another one when I finish playing. It was the best and the hardest experience that I have ever done,” Wozniacki said.
Once free from the tennis circuit, she can be found in Monaco, where Paula Radcliffe and Lewis Hamilton are also based. “A while back I was out running, and Paula was out for a nice little jog. Obviously, her nice little jog was much faster than mine,” said Wozniacki, who is most at home in New York, where she has an apartment. “I love the U.S. Open. I get a good vibe here. It definitely helps that the crowd is cheering for you,” she said.