Caroline Wozniacki talks about her preparation for the US Open and what it means to play under the lights in New York.
NEW YORK – Caroline Wozniacki wants to shine on the U.S. Open courts. This year—at night—she’ll glow.
Last year's runner-up will wear shoes with glow-in-the-dark touches from Adidas by Stella McCartney line.
“(Playing at night) brings out a lot of new possibilities,” Wozniacki says. “That is what I enjoy about the U.S. Open, there’s that energy in the evening sessions that makes you want to look the part and play your best tennis.”
Wozniacki will walk the “delicate balance” between fashion and performance in a McCartney-designed dress—“it’s streamlined and sporty, yet delicate and feminine.”
Even with a focus on fashion for Wozniacki, hitting the heat of New York has her clamoring for performance over fashion, especially when it comes to climate control. “My game is so physical, I do so much running, and New York can get so hot,” she says. “I have to wear clothes that breathe and help me stay cool, calm and collected.”
Getting ready for all that potential New York heat takes on new meaning so late in the season. For Wozniacki, she puts a training focus during the hard court season on playing aggressive tennis, “staying low, taking the ball early and on the rise and trying to keep the points a little shorter while dictating as much as I can.” Specifically for the U.S. Open, she spends time on band work and weights to stretch and strengthen and hits the treadmill plenty. On the practice court, she uses the Babolat Play AeroPro Drive racket for digital data feedback on her strokes.
Wozniacki scheduled tournaments all the way up to the U.S. Open to make sure she was peaking at the right time, all while dealing with the nagging injuries that come late in a season. “It becomes a balancing act between getting stronger, rehabilitation and injury prevention,” she says. “Tennis is so physical and so demanding that that’s just the nature of the sport.”
And she isn’t talking just physically demanding. The very nature of playing under the New York City lights provides a completely different mental approach to the tournament.
Each Grand Slam has its own style and flavor, with the U.S. Open different because of the intense noise and excitement.
Wozniacki cited traveling to Queen’s each day for practices or matches as a challenge to overcome, but she does say that once she arrives the facilities let her acclimate quickly. And at night, with that buzz, the U.S. Open provides a character feeling. Logistically, though, those late nights zap players. “I love playing the night sessions, but it is always difficult the day of your match and the day after to figure out the best time to eat, sleep and practice,” Wozniacki says.
“The energy, the crowd, the excitement," Wozniacki says. “There is so much passion for sports in New York. It’s intoxicating.”
Intoxicating enough to glow in the dark.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and design for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.