29th June, 2012
Caroline Wozniacki denied suggestions her relationship with Rory McIlroy is affecting her game after a first-round exit at Wimbledon.
The Danish seventh seed was defeated in the first round at the All England Club for the first time, slumping to a 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 loss to Austrian Tamira Paszek.
Asked if she felt her relationship with McIlroy, who is enduring a form slump of his own, was affecting her game, Wozniacki abruptly answered: “No”.
Instead, Wozniacki, who lost in the first round of a grand slam for the first time since the 2007 French Open, rued her bad luck.
Paszek, winner at Eastbourne leading into the year’s third grand slam, saved two match points, twice hitting the line when saving one of them.
“I had over two years where I was winning these matches, even when I wasn’t playing great sometimes but still winning and managed to pull it off,” Wozniacki said.
“Luck was still on my side. You win one, two points, and suddenly you get through these matches and you’re standing in a semi-final, a final, and anything can happen. “I feel lately it’s going the other way a little bit. It’s not the first match this year where I have had match points and not won.
“It’s frustrating obviously. But it’s tennis. You just need to go through this and come back even stronger. “I believe luck is something you practice for. I really believe I’ve been working hard. I’ve been just doing everything I could to prepare my best. Hopefully all the hard work will pay off.”
World number 37 Paszek, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year, was delighted with her win, which came after three hours and 12 minutes on Centre Court. “I knew Caroline was going to be a tough match because she is such a fighter and doesn’t give you a free point,” Paszek said.
“When the roof was closed, the court slowed down a little bit and we were able to have a lot of long rallies that I hope entertained the crowd.
“The crowd kept me going. It was amazing to play on Centre Court, a real honour.”