Caroline Wozniacki made plenty of headlines last week, but none of them were about tennis. Six days ago, Rory McIlroy announced that he and Wozniacki had broken off their engagement of nearly five months.
The Dane remained mostly silent about the news leading up to her match against No. 64 Yanina Wickmayer in the first round of the French Open. The 13th-seeded Wozniacki lost 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 on Tuesday -- her first defeat in the opening round of the clay-court Grand Slam since her debut in 2007.
Wozniacki, 23, began her post-match news conference by thanking supporters for their "sweet messages" and requesting that the media respect her personal life and ask questions only about the match. Reporters found ways to indirectly touch on the subject of her split with the 25-year-old golf star, and Wozniacki handled the emotionally difficult situation with grace.
"Obviously, you're not prepared for something like this and it came a bit as a shock," Wozniacki said."I just tried to prepare the best that I could, and really tried to focus on my match and on what I had to do out there."
Wozniacki has been dealing with wrist and knee injuries that limited her to only one European clay-court tune-up event, the Madrid Open, where she lost in the second round.
"I felt a little bit rusty, and it wasn't really a pretty match," she said. "But I tried. ... I don't feel [pain in] my wrist at all, so that's all good. I could feel my knee a little bit in the extreme situations, but in general I'm positively surprised about how it held up."
Wozniacki was the year-end No. 1 in 2010 and '11, and she ranks fourth among active players with 21 titles. But she's yet to make a final this year, and in March she hit a six-year low of No. 18. Wozniacki said she is motivated to return to the WTA's elite. "I have done a lot already in my young years, but at the same time, I feel like there are still a lot of things that can be improved," she said. "And even when I was playing my best, there are still things I can improve. That's why I'm playing, because I believe that I can get back to the level I had and even play better."