Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was recently in Singapore, spending time exploring the Lion City and meeting local tennis juniors. Her message for young aspiring tennis players: “Have fun with it and enjoy what you do. Even if people tell you there’s something you can’t do, don’t believe them, believe in yourself and go for your dreams.”
Caroline knows what she’s talking about—after all, she did just that. “My family always believed in me even when people said nobody from Denmark will ever be a top tennis player,” she said. “My dream was to be number one in the world. When I reached that for the first time in Beijing in 2010, it was a very memorable moment… It’s something I’ll always remember.”
Three hours each day
She continues to work hard at her game, spending at least three hours on the court each day plus two to three hours of gym time.
Now ranked No. 11, Caroline made it to the second round of the Generali Ladies Linz tournament last week before losing to Kirsten Flipkens. But she knows how to take losses in stride.
“You just have to teach yourself not to let things affect you too much,” she said. “You can have a bad point or a bad game, but at the end of the day, the match isn’t over until the last point is played. That’s the only thing I can think of…”
What was it like spending time with the young tennis players yesterday?
I thought that was great. Unfortunately I didn’t get to hit balls with them, but we worked on their serves and we talked and they had questions… I think the facilities in Singapore are amazing… I remember how great it was when Venus Williams was in Copenhagen and I got to talk to her for a little bit. That really helped me. Hopefully, they liked it as much as I did.
A lot of fans are thrilled by your friendship with Serena Williams. What’s it like playing against her? Does it ever affect your friendship?
No, I mean, when we’re on court, we’re competitors and we scream, “Come on!” There are no friends out there on the court, we just do our best, but once we’re off the court, you know it’s normal life again. We don’t hold it against each other.
Can we talk about your nails? I saw your manicure for the US Open on Instagram.
It’s just a fashion accessory. It’s fun, it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s different.
You completed your first marathon in New York—why was that important to you?
I’ve always wanted to do that. It was on my bucket list, and it worked out well with my schedule. It was amazing. I did it for charity, which was great. We raised about $100,000. It was really an amazing experience and something I would love to do again.
What was it like playing tennis with US President Barack Obama?
It was great, it was fun. It’s definitely an experience I’ll remember forever. He used to play tennis back in the day.
Can you tell us about shooting for the Sports Illustrated 2015 Swimsuit Issue? We saw funny outtakes. What was it like for you?
I was a little nervous going into the shoot, not knowing what to expect, but the whole team around us was amazing. The photographer was incredible, Walter Iooss, probably one of the best guys I’ve ever worked with. He just made you feel so comfortable and I had a blast. The pictures turned out so well, I’m very proud of them.
If there’s one thing you would change about the world of tennis, what would it be?
Equal pay at all tournaments would be awesome. We have it at the Grand Slam… Other than that, I think we’re doing pretty well. Tennis is the biggest women’s sport in the world, and we’re very fortunate to be shown on TV all the time, and we play in the biggest stadiums.
If not tennis, what would you be doing?
Acting would be one thing that I would love to do. Another thing which is completely opposite would be to study business. International business has always been something that I’ve wanted to do. When I’m done playing tennis, that’s what I’ll do.
Is there an actor you’d like to star with?
I think Leonardo DiCaprio would be pretty awesome.