Caroline Wozniacki has revealed she has suffered with rheumatoid arthritis for the last few months, after being diagnosed before the US Open.
The former world No 1, who won the Australian Open in January for her maiden Grand Slam title, admitted she was “shocked” when she found out but has been able to play through the illness.
Wozniacki saw her 2018 season come to an end on Thursday as the defending champion was knocked out of the WTA Finals in Singapore after a defeat to Elina Svitolina.
“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,” Wozniacki said of the condition, which causes swelling of the joints and fatigue.
“I didn’t want to talk about it during the year because I don’t want to give anyone the edge, thinking I’m not feeling well. 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 live and you’re fine. You don’t even feel like you have it.”
Wozniacki, who will now use the off-season to plan how to manage the illness, admitted there had been days where she had found it difficult to get out of bed.
“In the beginning it was a shock. Just you feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there, or that’s in my head, that’s what I’m known for, and all of a sudden you have this to work with.
You just kind of move on from it and work through it and figure out how to deal with it and live with it.
“It’s obviously not ideal for anybody and I think when you’re a professional athlete, it’s also not even more ideal. But you find a plan, figure out what to do, you do your research, and thankfully there are great things now that you can do to it and do about it.
“You just kind of move on from it and work through it and figure out how to deal with it and live with it.
“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 live and you’re fine. You don’t even feel like you have it.”
Wozniacki said she initially felt unwell after Wimbledon before waking up during the Rogers Cup in August unable to lift her arms and would need to deal with the condition on a daily basis.
“The medication has really improved, so that’s amazing,” she said. “You have to think about diet, sleep, everything else.
“You know, it’s a lifetime thing. It’s not something that just goes away.”
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