Caroline Wozniacki reveals ‘shock’ after rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis

Shahida Jacobs
Caroline Wozniacki disappointed

Caroline Wozniacki has revealed she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder before this year’s US Open.

The world No 2 made the revelation shortly after the defence of her WTA Finals title was ended by Elina Svitolina on Thursday.

Wozniacki says she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the joints, in August and initially struggled to come to terms with it, but is now taking it in her stride.

“After Wimbledon I wasn’t feeling well. I thought it was just the flu. I was on vacation and I wasn’t feeling good,” she said.

“I woke up and I can’t lift my arms over my head. I don’t really know what it was. For a while I thought maybe I have mono. It turns out that I have an autoimmune disease, which is rheumatoid arthritis, which goes in and attacks your joints.”

She added: “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.

“Yeah, it is what it is, and you just have to be positive and work with it, and there are ways that you can feel better so that’s great.

“It’s been a lot to just take in. After the US Open, I just kind of had to figure out what really was going on. So that’s when I really figured it out. I went to see one of the best doctors that there is and, you know, start treatment.

“You know, at the end of the day, it’s obviously not ideal for anybody, and I think when you’re a professional athlete, it’s also not even more ideal, but at the end of the day, 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. That’s that. 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.”

According to the NHS, rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet.

There is no cure for the condition, but 28-year-old Wozniacki admits she is happy her 2018 season is over so that she can figure out a long-term plan on how to cope.

“I think I didn’t want to talk about it obviously during the year because I don’t want to give anyone the edge or thinking that I’m not feeling well, but I have been feeling well,” the Dane said. “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.

“So it’s a lot. It’s something that now I’m happy that I’m done with the season and you can just kind of control it a little bit more and figure out a plan how to control it even better in the future.

“Some people can go into remission and some people, it just stops, the disease, and it’s just right there and it’s not going to get worse, or if it does, it’s slowly. The medicine now is so amazing so I’m not worried about it. So that’s great. You just have to be aware.”

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