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Caroline Wozniacki has rheumatoid arthritis

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SINGAPORE — Caroline Wozniacki was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis ahead of this year’s U.S. Open, the Danish tennis player revealed at the WTA Finals on Thursday.

She made the announcement after being eliminated from the year-end competition following a 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 loss to Elina Svitolina in her third round-robin match.

“It turns out that I have an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, which goes in and attacks your joints,” she said. “When the body has a lot of fluids in it and you swell up, you get tired, you get exhausted, all these things.

“In the beginning, it was a shock. You feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there. That’s what I’m known for, and all of a sudden you have this to work with.”

Wozniacki, 28, won her first Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open and briefly recaptured the No. 1 ranking after a six-year wait.�

After Wimbledon in July, she thought she had the flu when on vacation. When she started playing again, her legs hurt. Then, in Montreal in August, she woke up one morning and couldn’t lift her arms above her head.

Wozniacki thought she may have glandular fever, but the doctor said she was fine. However, she was certain something was wrong and went for more in-depth testing.

The former No. 1, who won her third title of the year in Beijing three weeks ago, said it was important to initially keep the diagnosis a secret.

“I didn’t want to talk about it obviously during the year because I didn’t want to give anyone the edge or thinking that I’m not feeling well,” she said. �”You learn how to just cope after matches.

“Some days you wake up and you can’t get out of bed, and you just have to know that’s how it is, but other days you’re fine. You don’t even feel like you have it. I didn’t want to look it up, I didn’t want to Google it, because if you Google stuff you feel like you’re going to die,” Wozniacki added with a smile.

After the U.S. Open in September, she decided to do more research on rheumatoid arthritis and her doctor said much progress had been made in managing the disease.

“You just have to be positive and work with it, and there are ways you can feel better, so that’s great,” Wozniacki said. “It’s obviously not ideal for anybody, and, I think when you’re a professional athlete, it’s even more not ideal.

“But at the end of the day, you find a plan, figure out what to do, do your research, and thankfully there are great things now that you can do about it. I’m very proud of how I have been so positive through it all and just kind of tried to not let that hinder me.”

Djokovic wins World Sportsman of the Year at Laureus World Sports Awards

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MONACO  — Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn and the France national soccer team were among the winners at the Laureus World Sports Awards, with Woods claiming the Comeback Award 19 years after he was first recognized.

Djokovic matched Usain Bolt’s record by being named World Sportsman of the Year for the fourth time after winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He also earned the honor in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

Woods, who won the inaugural World Sportsman of the Year award in 2000, won the Tour Championship in September for his 80th PGA Tour title and his first since August 2013.

Vonn, who retired during the recent Alpine skiing world championships , took home the Spirit of Sport Award, which is given to an athlete for relentless dedication to his or her career, and France was honored for winning the World Cup in July.

Simone Biles was named World Sportswoman of the Year for winning four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the gymnastics world championships. Naomi Osaka won the Breakthrough Award for winning the U.S. Open and Chloe Kim was named the World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

The awards were given in recognition of outstanding sports performance in 2018.

Wawrinka loses to Monfils in first final since knee surgeries

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s rebuilt knee couldn’t quite carry him to the title in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Wawrinka lost his first final since his comeback a year ago from left knee surgeries, succumbing 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 to Gael Monfils of France at the ABN AMRO World Tournament.

It was the Frenchman’s eighth career title.

“I tried a couple of times here. I lost the final in 2016,” Monfils told Dutch national broadcaster NOS courtside. He said it was special to win a tournament that his idol, Arthur Ashe, also won. Ashe won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam in 1975 and ’76.

Unseeded Wawrinka reached the final by beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori in three sets on Saturday.

But the Swiss finally ran out of steam in the final set as Monfils stepped up his game.

“In the third set I was a little bit more aggressive and I go a bit more for my shots, I served bigger and that helped me a lot,” Monfils said.

Wawrinka was going for his 17th career title and second in Rotterdam, after winning in 2015.

It was his first final since the 2017 French Open, where he previously met Monfils in the fourth round.

Monfils also needed three sets to overcome fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals, but outlasted Wawrinka in a match that took 1 hour, 44 minutes.

After they shared the first two sets, Monfils was more consistent than Wawrinka in the decisive third.

Already trailing 4-2, Wawrinka hit three unforced errors to lose the seventh game and allow Monfils to serve out the match.