MELBOURNE, Australia — It was bittersweet, Caroline.
Tears flowed after 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki’s professional career ended with a third-round loss Friday at Melbourne Park.
Wozniacki – “I’m not a crier,” she insisted – got emotional in her courtside chair after being beaten 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 by Ons Jabeur.
The familiar Neil Diamond tune played on the speakers at Melbourne Arena. Her father, who also has coached her, himself held back tears as he lifted the 29-year-old Wozniacki like she was a much younger daughter. Her mother wept. Her husband, former New York Knicks forward David Lee, smiled. He was holding back the waterworks, also.
Wozniacki’s first task at her final post-match news conference was to locate something to dab at her eyes – “I was told there are tissues,” she said – then suggested she was probably “cried out.”
“There’s a lot of emotions, a lot of things I can’t compartmentalize now,” the former No. 1-ranked Wozniacki said. “A lot of excitement. A little sadness. Flashbacks to since I was a kid to this moment. But I’m happy. I’m very happy. Even though I was crying a lot earlier, it really wasn’t sad tears. I think just happy tears.”
Wozniacki announced late last year that she would retire from the sport after the Australian Open, where she won her only Grand Slam singles title.
When the draw was made for the season’s first major tournament, there was a lot of hype about a potential fourth-rounder between Wozniacki and her good friend Serena Williams, who has won seven Australian Opens among her 23 majors.
Neither of them will be in the second week, with Wozniacki telling the crowd it was “only fitting that my last match ended with a forehand error” and Williams describing her shocking loss to Wang Qiang as unprofessional.
The pair met later to commiserate.
“Yeah, she came into the locker room afterwards. We were both kind of bummed about our matches,” Williams said, tearing up when asked about her friend’s legacy. “Yeah, she’s had an amazing career. Oh, my God, I’m getting emotional. Oh, my God. I’m going to miss her.”