Viral illness forces Caroline Wozniacki to withdraw from Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
2011 champion was scheduled to play under lights on Centre Court for the first-round match against Stefanie Voegele
• Simona Halep interview: As hunted or hunter, consistency remains the key to success in 2019
• Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships predictions: Naomi Osaka faces fight from elite field
Former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki was on Monday forced to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships because of a viral illness.
The 2011 champion, ninth seed this week, was scheduled to play under the lights on Centre Court for the first-round match against Stefanie Voegele, but the tournament announced her withdrawal around 6pm. Voegele was a lucky loser after Samantha Stosur had pulled out on Sunday. Slovenia’s Polona Hercog, another lucky loser who lost in qualifying, will take Wozniacki’s spot.
The Dane’s withdrawal is a blow to both the player and the tournament: since lifting the title in 2011, Wozniacki has reached the semi-finals four times. She finished runner-up last time she competed in Dubai, in 2017.
Wozniacki has not played competitively since the unsuccessful defence of her Australia Open crown last month. She also pulled out of Doha last week with the same problem.
“It sucks, if we're being honest,” Woznicaki said. “I prepared, I've gotten ready to play these two weeks, and two weeks I usually play well in. It's two hard-court tournaments. They fit my game well. It's good speed for my game.
“I was hoping that maybe taking a little bit of time to myself and just trying to recover, I was hoping I was going to be ready to play today. I just wasn't.
“I have to be fair to myself, as well. If I can't even play at a reasonable level, there's no reason for me to go out there and just play one set. I want to go out there and I want to win. Every time I play a match, I think I can beat the opponent, I think I can win the tournament. I don't feel like that right now.
“I'm getting better slowly. I'm just getting over it. But there's still a ways to go. I'm just taking it day by day. Just have to try to be smart about it.
If I can't even play at a reasonable level, there's no reason for me to go out there and just play one set
“I just have to stay positive, try and do everything in my power to get better. Then Indian Wells and Miami are right around the corner, but thankfully not right around the corner. I'm hoping to be 100 per cent for both of those. I'll just go out there and do my best.”
Updated: February 18, 2019 10:59 PM