Former world number one and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki has made a surprise revelation about suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Wozniacki, who is currently participating in the WTA Finals, said she was informed of her conditions by her doctors before the US Open. She had been struggling with fatigue during Wimbledon and according to the Dane, one morning she was unable to lift her hands up following which tests were conducted.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA as it’s called, is an autoimmune disease which affects the patient’s joints. As a result, the joints become swollen or painful and it usually worsens after a period of rest.
Typically, rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrist and hands are involved, but it could also affect other parts of the body like reducing the red blood cell count, causing inflammation around the lungs and/or the heart.
Wozniacki said she was shocked to be told of her condition in the beginning.
“In the beginning, it was a shock. You feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there. That’s what I’m known for, and all of a sudden you have this to work with.”
At one stage when she started feeling unwell, she thought she had the flu but when her legs started aching and she couldn’t lift her hands over her head, she even considered if it was a case of glandular fever. Once tests were conducted, it came out to be rheumatoid arthritis.
Even more creditably, Wozniacki went on to win China Open a few weeks after the diagnosis and she now says she is trying to manage the condition.
Wozniacki said: “I think winning in Beijing meant so much to me. I think you obviously start asking yourself questions: What does this mean? Does it mean I can’t get in as great of shape as I was before?”
She added the China Open win allowed her to believe the condition wouldn’t set her back too much and that she would look to manage her illness.
She also said: “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.”
And to prove that Wozniacki hadn’t lost her humour, she also said she didn’t want to google up the illness because “if you Google stuff you feel like you’re going to die.”
Wozniacki’s season ended yesterday with a defeat at the hands of Elina Svitolina in the WTA Finals. She won just one of her three matches in the round-robin stage and bowed out of the competition. Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova have qualified for the semi-finals from that group.