The Game Changers

Caroline Wozniacki: Inspirational return to the top of tennis

October 10, 2023 Sue Anstiss Season 15 Episode 1
The Game Changers
Caroline Wozniacki: Inspirational return to the top of tennis
Show Notes Transcript

Our guest in this special bonus episode is professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, ranked number one in the world at the height of her career.  

Caroline’s professional career took off at 15 when she joined the WTA Tour, and her meteoric rise saw her ranked world number one for 70 weeks.

Having won the Australian Open in 2018, Caroline was at the peak of her tennis career when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Caroline retired from tennis in 2020 and then, much to the delight of tennis fans across the world, in 2023, now mother to two young children, she announced her surprise return to professional tennis.

It was such a privilege to talk to Caroline. We explore her phenomenal rise to world number one, and the impact of returning to that position again years later when she also won the Australian Open.

Caroline talks frankly about her Rheumatoid Arthritis – its diagnosis and how it impacts her life as an elite athlete. She also talks about her passion to help other women with the Advantage Hers* campaign. 

We explore the impact of her surprise return to professional tennis this year, the changes she’s seen and her plans for the future. 

As a mother returning to play her sport at the very highlight level Caroline Wozniacki is a huge inspiration to working mothers everywhere. 

 * The Advantage Hers campaign is supported and paid for by UCB. For more information visit

Thank you to Sport England who support The Game Changers Podcast through a National Lottery award.

Thank you to Sport England who support The Game Changers Podcast with a National Lottery award.

Find out more about The Game Changers podcast here:

Hosted by Sue Anstiss
Produced by Sam Walker, What Goes On Media

A Fearless Women production

Caroline Wozniacki: Inspirational return to the top of tennis

Sue Anstiss 

Hello and welcome to The Game Changers. I'm Sue Anstiss, and this is the podcast where you'll hear from trailblazing women in sport who are literally knocking down barriers and challenging the status quo for women and girls everywhere. What can we learn from their journeys as we explore some of the key issues around equality in sport and beyond?

I'd like to start with a big thank you to our partners, Sport England, who support the Game Changers through a National Lottery Award. 

My guest today in this special bonus episode is professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, ranked number one in the world at the height of her career, Caroline was born into a family of athletes. Her father was a professional footballer in Poland and Denmark and her mother was a member of the Polish national volleyball team. 

Caroline began playing tennis a young girl and her professional career took off at 15 when she joined the WTA Tour. She went on to be ranked world number one for 70 weeks, winning the Australian Open, and was at the peak of her tennis career in 2018 when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She retired from tennis in 2020 and then, much to the delight of tennis fans across the world, in 2023, now mother to two young children, Caroline announced her surprise return to professional tennis and it's been such a joy to see her play again this year, most recently in the US Open. 

It's also been great to hear about how Caroline has partnered with UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, to launch Advantage Hers, a major global health initiative. Inspired by her own journey, the campaign raises awareness of the unmet needs of millions of women across the world living with chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. The initiative provides information and support to empower women to take more active roles in their own care. 

Can I start at the very beginning? With your childhood, you played sport as a family, but when was it that you first started playing tennis? 


Caroline Wozniacki 

I started playing tennis about six or seven years old and played all sorts of sports growing up, but it was really Tennis in the summers. My parents really got into it and they started playing with their friends and having a good time. And my brother's four years older than me, so he was allowed to play with them because he was good enough, but I wasn't, so I was kind of put on the sidelines and just had to kind of, you know, get on with it and get out of the way. But the competitor that I am, I really wanted to, to be part of it and I wanted to prove them wrong. So my dad had an extra racket. I grabbed that extra racket and some balls and started hitting up against the wall for hours and hours every day during summer and I think that's when my dad realized you know what, she's passionate, she wants to do this and she's very excited for it. 

So I can help her out and and that's kind of how I got into training with the other kids and just doing it more structured 


Sue Anstiss: I mentioned in the introduction that your dad played professional football in Poland and then in Denmark, and your mum was a professional or she played volleyball, didn't she? For the national team, a sport I played at university as well too, but was volleyball or team sport ever a passion for you? Was that a path you might have followed? 


Caroline Wozniacki 03:53

Yeah, so I I like team sports. I love team sports, and I was playing a lot of soccer, football and handball growing up as well, but tennis and swimming were really the two sports that I was best at, and so when I was about 10 years old, that's the two sports I had to choose from. I think there's so much to learn from both individual and team sports, so my dream is for my kids to do both, because I think you learn so many lessons from both and I think it's so great to be out there and meeting new friends and doing all that. So, we'll see. 


Sue Anstiss 04:30

It obviously takes a huge amount of hunger and competitiveness to be a champion at the very top of the sport, as you have been, and for so long too. Was that always present in you from when you were a little girl? 


Caroline Wozniacki 04:41

Yeah, I've always been competitive, whether that was in school or whether that was playing cards with, you know, with the family. Whatever it was, I always wanted to be the best or win and find a way to win. And it's funny because I see that same Drive and my two-year-old daughter she's. She's exactly the same, as it's gonna be fun to follow her and see what she does with it. 


Sue Anstiss 05:01

I've heard you say, actually, that your brother never played tennis with you again after you beat him as a child, but your dad was so competitive he never let you win. So is that still the case now? 


Caroline Wozniacki 05:11

Yes, so my brother I beat when I was about 10 years old and he was 14, and he did not find that fun and he was actually, I think at the time, probably as similar or just as good of a tennis players my dad and One day I was playing points with my dad and I was about to beat him. I think I was about 5-3 in the second set and all of a sudden my dad just cut the match short and he's like nope, you got to work on a few things and I see it. So I would have beaten him, but he didn't let me because he didn't want to lose to me. So I guess I'll still take that one. 


Sue Anstiss 05:45

I wonder how you'll be with Olivia as she plays, and your son too, growing up as well too, whether what kind of parent you'll be there letting them beat you? You were just ten when you won the Danish 12 and under championship. So what were your ambitions at that young age? 


Caroline Wozniacki 06:01

Well, already from a very young age, I wanted to be the best in the world and win a grand slam. So that was my goal, and I think I said that as early as nine or ten years old. So that was that was my goal, my dream, and I was gonna find a way to get there one way or another. 


Sue Anstiss 06:16

That's fantastic, isn't it? And what do people think about you being so kind of confident and ambitious at that stage? How did people around you react to that? 


Caroline Wozniacki 06:24

I think people that are really close to me and my family knew that I had the drive and competitiveness. But I think, you know, coming from a small country like Denmark that didn't really have tennis traditions or anyone that I could look up to in that regard, it was hard to imagine that I could reach that, you know, the pinnacle of our sport. But you know other people that didn't know me and just kind of saw me doing an interview and saying I want to be the best in the world, I think they just smiled and we're like yeah, yeah, you're cute, but like you'll wake up, one day and realize that's a ridiculous dream. But you know I I kept grinding at it, I kept working really hard and go for my passions and my dreams and and I was fortunate enough to reach the dreams that I had in my sport.


Sue Anstiss 07:10

Absolutely. I love the story of how you found your first sponsor in Adidas too, so you tell us about, about that kind of process. 


Caroline Wozniacki 07:17

Yeah. So I was a big fan of of Adidas, and especially because Anna Kornikova was playing in the clothes and she made them just look beautiful. And so I always had my parents buy me the Anna Kornikova collection. And Finally they're like, we're spending so much money on these clothes and, no, you, if you want the clothes and keep continuing having all the new stuff, you can call Adidas yourself and tell them you know, who you are, what you do, why they should sponsor you. And so I was like, okay, well, I really want these clothes. So my Dad got the number to the CEO of Adidas Denmark and and he's like here you go, if you want to call him, you call him. And so I made the phone call and and obviously, I think I was 12, 12 years old at the time and he must have thought you know what? This is pretty cool that the 12 year old is calling me up and I basically told him I was gonna be the next world number one and I had a bright future in tennis and I'd already won the national championships, etc, etc. 

I think I had maybe I don't know how long it took maybe 10 minutes, the phone call and I was, and he's like. So how can I help you? And I go. Well, you know, Adidas is my favorite brand and this is, I would really mean a lot to me. And he was like you know what? I love that you did this. I love that you love our brand. So he sent me the catalogs and he goes you can choose whatever you want and we'll make sure to send the collections to you whenever they come out. So that was pretty cool. I had that for a few years. 


Sue Anstiss 08:47

That's fantastic, isn't it? And a lovely lesson for the whole being proactive and reaching out in that way. And you had this really rapid rise to the top of the sport. So you won the Wimbledon junior championship at 15 in 2006. You were voted WTA Newcomer of the year in 2008 and, like two years later, you were world number one. But was it all as smooth sailing as it kind of appeared from the outside? 


Caroline Wozniacki 09:09

No, it's. You know there will always be bumps along the way and there was tough losses and doubts and hard work and kind of a bit of everything. But you know, I just never stopped believing and I think, having a great team around me and my dad was my coach as well, and, you know, having family close to you I think that really helped. So it was definitely not  a smooth and easy ride. And also, once you get to your goals, it's also about staying there and, you know, trying to keep that number one ranking for as long as possible and try to win as many tournaments. And you just your perspective constantly changes on what a good season is, what a good tournament has been. And you know that's the tough part about individual sports too, because you don't have teammates that you can pass the ball to, if you're not having a good day. You're out there alone and you're really stranded on a deserted island if you're not playing well and you have to find a way to kind of,  to find a solution, and I think that's also one of the coolest thing about tennis is the fact that you're the one who has to figure it out and make changes, and you're the only one who can win or lose the match. 

Sue Anstiss 10:21

Yeah, I was going to ask you about that because, obviously, that amazing success of becoming world number one, you're meeting your ambition, but how it feels then to lose that, kind of, how you deal with that, that disappointment, when it's something that you've, always aspire to and you have achieved it. 


Caroline Wozniacki 10:36

It's funny because, you know, I had this huge dream of becoming world number one and winning  a Grand Slam and doing all these things. And you know, as a kid you have all these imaginations of what it's going to be like. And I remember the day I became number one in the world for the first time. I was in Beijing. I just won my quarterfinals match against Petra Kvitova and they had this amazing ceremony and celebration and everything else and it was, you know, a pinch me moment of wow, this is really happening. And I remember getting off the court and everything was fine.  I have to go to sleep because the next day I still have a match at my semifinals match and obviously I want to win it. And I wake up and I prepare and stand on the practice court to warm up and do all that and my dad goes, you know, bend your legs, move your feet, and I just look at him. I go wait, I'm world number one, I’m the best tennis player in the world, and I still have to do all these things and it's nothing changed. So that's when it hit me, my life is not different, nothing has changed and people that know me still know me. People that don't follow, still don't follow, and I think that's when it hit me that, wow, that's. It's not about being, you know, the best in the world, it's about the process and the journey getting there, and I think once I lost the world number one, I really appreciated all the hard work that came to getting to that spot and I think the hard work and the time that it took me to get the world number one ranking back. Once I got it back, I really appreciated it a lot more. It was really a dream come true and I could really soak it all in with my friends and my family at the time. 


Sue Anstiss 12:15

Did it make that much difference? Because you did that as you won the Australian Open, so almost like to win that Grand Slam and become world number one at the same time. Did it feel very different to when you had become world number one the first time? 


Caroline Wozniacki 12:27

Absolutely, because the first time around I just you know it wasn't easy but it was. You know, I just assumed this was you know the process and I got there and this is cool and I'm going to stay there forever. But the second time around, once I had lost it, I think I'm the person with the longest stint in between world number one. I think it was six years. So it's a long time to be trying to get back there and not being able to and not being able to, and so when I finally got it back, it was just such a proud moment and such a you know, I think, a better understanding of how hard it is to actually be the best in the world at something, and I think I definitely appreciated a lot more, just with my maturity and with everything else that I've gone through in my career. At that point.

Sue Anstiss 13:11

Yeah, that's fascinating. I hadn't realized actuall, that there was such a big gap between the two periods. That's extraordinary, isn't it? One thing people may not realize about you is that you'd suffer with rheumatoid arthritis. I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about how you first realized that you had an issue and the kind of process of diagnosis. 

Caroline Wozniacki 13:29

Yes. So I had won the Australian Open in 2018 and after the Australian Open I just started kind of feeling on and off a little. You know not great with my body, but I couldn't really put a finger on it and I just kind of took it down to being tired. It's been a long season, there's a lot been going on, which is completely understandable and wouldn't have been out of the question. And it wasn't until I got to Montreal, and I had played my match. I played three hours and I lost that match and I was a little bit upset. So I went back to the hotel. I didn't get treatment because I was like you know what I have days to kind of get my body back in check. 

And we went to bed that night and I woke up in the morning and I just look over at my husband and I go I don't know what's going on, there's something completely wrong. And he goes what do you mean? And I'm like I can't move. And he goes oh, you just saw from the match. And I go no, no, no, there's something off. I literally I can't move, I'm in so much pain. He looks at me and he goes that's not normal because you have a pretty high pain tolerance, if you say that there's something off like what is happening? So he helped me out of bed. I couldn't even lift my arms, it was so painful. My hands, my shoulders, everything was just. It felt like everything was out of socket. It just didn't feel right and I was exhausted and he's like we need to see a doctor. 

And I went to see a tournament doctor. I went to see multiple people I think I saw four, four doctors in a span because I was like I need to figure out what's going on. And one doctor said maybe you're in bad shape. One said you know, maybe you're pregnant, maybe you're run down. You know, they kept coming out with these excuses and I go I know my body, I know myself, there's something really wrong and it wasn't until I got to New York and I went to see a doctor that I'd seen before when I was sick, and I really trusted him and I said I know this sounds crazy, but I'm not feeling myself, I am exhausted, I have pain, there'll be a few hours where I feel fine and then I feel bad. And he's like okay, I believe you, let's just do a bunch of blood tests. Let's see what comes out and I'll call you back once you know we have all the results. 

And sure enough, I don't know, it's maybe five days later, a week later calls me into the office and he goes well. If good news and bad news, I go. What's the good news? He goes well, you're not dying. So don't worry about that. Because that was my biggest fear. I'm like I don't know what's going on, like what is happening. So I'm like, well, that's great news. What's the bad news? And he goes well, I can see you have a lot of inflammation in your body. I see you know some of these markers that are not right. It looks like you have an autoimmune disease, it looks like it could be rheumatoid arthritis, it could be lupus, it could be all these things. And he goes, this is not my specialty, but you know we have a great rheumatologist that maybe you can get in contact with and I was like great, and I did my research and I found this rheumatologist that I really trusted and I went to see her about a week later after the US Open and I said, told her all my symptoms and what's been going on and you know, and she sat me down and was like, okay, let's do some more testing. And sure enough, it came back that I had rheumatoid arthritis and my,  you know all my markers were crazy high and I wasn't feeling well. So I go well, what does that mean? Because obviously I'm a professional tennis player. This is my life, I've worked for this my whole life. I'm playing so well. I'm a professional athlete. I, you know at the time, have a boyfriend, or fiancé and you know, one day we want to start a family. That's really important to me. And she goes well. You know, we can make a game plan that's tailored for you and everybody is different and you know every person reacts different to different things. So let's find a game plan tailored for you. And she was really a game changer for me and she made me really get into the right things for me and I started feeling a lot better and, and you know, could combat my rheumatoid arthritis. And now I have, you know, I won one of my biggest tournaments wins after that, I now have two beautiful kids. 

I live with my rheumatoid arthritis every day, but I can keep it somewhat in check. Of course sometimes I get a flare, but most of the time I can really keep it under control and it's pretty spectacular, and that's why we did the Advantage Hers campaign was because I there was so much false information out there and there was no one place where I could really gain and gather all the information that I needed and wanted, and and I wanted to know if I was going to be okay. I wanted to know all these questions that people have, and I think the main thing is to let people know that they can take charge of their own health and to believe that if you feel like there's something that is not right, you need to listen to yourself and find a doctor who is willing to listen to you and and that's the most important thing and then find a game plan that works for you. And that's why we started Advantage Hers, because you can get a lot of information in one place. 

Sue Anstiss 18:39

Yeah, that's fantastic. I've had a look at the website. Look all around. There's some amazing, amazing stuff there, and is that sort of slow diagnosis quite a common occurrence to people with rheumatoid arthritis? It's like not something that's well known, or?

Caroline Wozniacki 18:50

Yeah, I mean when I came out and said I wanted to make it official because I wanted to help other people going through the similar things and going, you know, not having gotten diagnosed. And the most common thing was well, you're so young, how come you can have rheumatoid arthritis? That's not possible. And so I think a lot of people, a lot of women, get overlooked because,  one if we're told one thing by the doctor, we're like wow, okay, maybe, maybe I'm wrong then, but it really is important to take charge of your own health, because it takes so long to get diagnosed and the repercussions of not getting diagnosed you just start feeling worse and worse and there's a lot of other things that come with it. So number one thing is to get a diagnosis and then from there you can really make a change and make you feel better. So so that's number one talk to your doctor and find someone who is who you trust and who listens to you.

Sue Anstiss 19:40

And you mentioned obviously in that time that you've started a family and you've got two beautiful children, Olivia and James, and how did the rheumatoid arthritis impact your pregnancies? 

Caroline Wozniacki 19:59

So actually I was scared because I didn't know how, you know, everything was gonna go and and obviously that you have a lot of questions and every pregnancy is different, every body is different, but for me it went as smooth as it possibly could with both pregnancies. I had great pregnancies with both kids. I was in constant talks with my doctor and you know we again we made the game plan. She asked me how I was feeling, we did some blood tests, we saw how everything was going and then we kind of went from there but everything, everything went great and and I'm so thankful for, for the team that I have around me.

Sue Anstiss 20:37

That's brilliant, isn't it? And obviously, as I mentioned, you retired from tennis in 2020. Was it very difficult to make that decision at the time? I'm conscious it was kind of COVID and lots going on in the world at that time as well. 

Caroline Wozniacki 20:48

It was. It was difficult the thing when you do something that you've done for so many years and you're ready to retire it. You know it's always a scary decision, but at the time it felt like the absolute right decision for me. It was right before COVID. I played for so many years on tour, I’d won my Grand Slam. I'd been number one in the world.  I wanted to have children. I was exhausted from traveling the whole world all the time and playing, and so it was time for me to take a break and say I'm good and yeah, I had two beautiful children back to back. And then I decided, after James was born, I went back on court for a couple of times and I was like, oh, I'm still hitting the ball, well, I can still do this. And as a family, we decided you know what, we're gonna give it another chance. And yeah, here we are, I'm back on tour with the family and I play a smart schedule and, you know, want to travel with the family while we still can and they're young enough and are not obligated to be in school every day, so it's  a great time for us and I'm very happy and proud to be there, and not only you know for me, but also for my family, and show my kids that you know you can do whatever you put your mind to, 

Sue Anstiss 22:14

Absolutely yeah, we do hear about female athletes, especially endurance athletes, coming back after motherhood and saying they feel much stronger. Do you feel it has impacted your body physically or, you know, have you changed as a player? 


Caroline Wozniacki 22:19

I definitely think I've changed as a player I think more mentally than anything. I think you have a completely different perspective of sports and life and what's important, what's not, and I think you don't stress over the little things anymore. And I think, being away from the sport, I really realised how, how sometimes we make small things into a bigger deal and how we blow things out of proportion in our own heads and I was guilty of that as well. But at the same time, I think my maturity and coming back and just playing with the passion and the love for the sport, I think really really helps. And having my family, it just, you know, when I come home and I see the kids and their smile on their faces, it just  no matter if you've had a good day or a bad day on the tennis court, it's just you know, it makes everything better. 

Sue Anstiss 23:08

And how much does seeing someone like Serena Williams returning to play inspire you also to know it was possible? Did you speak to Serena around that before you came back? 

Caroline Wozniacki 23:18

I did for sure. Yes, and obviously Serena is the greatest tennis player of all time and it's fantastic what she's been able to do, but just still having you know her perspective of things and being able to talk to her and her experience it definitely helped. And there's a few more moms on tour now and it's I think it's exciting and you know, it's just nice to know that you can do, you can do both and you can, you know, show women that if you have a dream and a passion, you can still do that, and still be a great mom, it's still do what you love to do and you know, I think, I think it's awesome that, that you know we're able to to not only be there for our kids but also live our, our dream and our passion. 

Sue Anstiss 24:04

Yeah, it's so true, isn't it? I do find it so inspiring to see you as a mother who's also following her career dreams and not you know you're being celebrated for it, rather than the guilt that sometimes comes from women. You know working mothers that they have to carry. So is that what you hope your fans will take away? What you heard from  female fans around seeing you coming back to play? 

Caroline Wozniacki 24:23

Absolutely. I've heard so many positive stories from women in general that have come out and said you know what? You're such an inspiration. We love that you're coming back to play after having your children.  And you know, I think a lot of moms feel the same way, we're still young, we have our dreams, we have our passions, we have our hopes and dreams and for whatever we want to do outside of the family and I think me included sometimes we feel guilty, we're away from our kids for a little bit, or we, you know. But at the end of the day, I think if we feel happy, if we are content in what we're doing and with our lives, whatever that may be, it may be that you, you don't want to work, or you, you know you have a passion for painting, or it could be, whatever it may be, but if you're happy on the inside, I think you bring that home and when you're with your kids and you can bring that happiness to them, I think immediately they're just so happy and thrilled to see their mom and their dads, you know, in a great mood and coming and have the energy to play with them and do things with them. 

Sue Anstiss 25:19

And that support, that connected network, is important, isn't it? I know it can be really tough for women to balance that motherhood and work without the great support at home. I know this myself. My husband took on the home role with. I've got three children, and when we had our third child he took on that role so that I could continue with my career too. So what's the support like for you to enable you to return, and to return, and not just not just to a job like mine, but to a job of being a professional athlete at the top of her game?  

Caroline Wozniacki 25:48

Oh, it's definitely not easy and it's hard and there's a lot of logistical things that needs to be figured out as well, but you make it work and you figure it out, because everyone wants it to be the best possible situation. So obviously I have a very supportive husband, but my parents are around a lot. We do have a nanny as well that helps with the kids, especially when we travel. It's hard when we have time change and different hotel rooms and moving from one place to another. It's so great that we have that support system. 

And then I just really try and schedule my practice. The first half of the day is for practice and preparing for my tournaments, and then when Olivia's back from school and kind of the second half of the day with James, I get to spend it with them. So I love it and it makes me so happy and I just we have two very happy and healthy kids and I'm just so proud of them and I don't want to miss anything either. So it's great that they can be with me on the road and with us as a family on the road. 

Sue Anstiss 26:54

And I think it's so important that we do celebrate this. But it's so different for the men, isn't it? When you think that during their playing careers, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have had four children each, but no one really commented on that. It's lovely to see them in the, you know, the box at Wimbledon,  we don't really comment on that. So do you think there is more the sport itself could be doing to help female athletes to have families and return to play? 

Caroline Wozniacki 27:16

Yeah, I mean it's. It's obviously so different because we have to be pregnant and it's nine months of pregnancy and your body changes and it's, you know, then it's the recovery time and it's all that. So you are out for a while and but that's okay too. You know, I think it's nice sometimes to take a break, and I think that's also why the dads don't hear, you don't hear as much about it, because they can play through the pregnancy. They can, you know, they can still be on tour and they can bring their wives, et cetera. But we as women, we just can't play on a high level anymore during that period of time. And so you know, it's just, it's not easy. 

When you come home or when you come back to tennis from an injury or what it may be, you know it also takes time to recover. But here you've had childbirth, you've given birth to a child. It's a lot your body goes through, and so to make sure that you're fully recovered and you're fully healthy and fully doing well, it just takes time and you don't want to rush into that either, and I think it's just amazing that we see a few women now do that in tennis. And, you know, not afraid to say you know what, I'm going to take a year or two out, because this is what I want to do and this is what I've always dreamed of, and it is possible to come back and play at the highest level and competing against the best players in the world. 

Sue Anstiss 28:32

That's exciting, exciting to see. I love the photos of Olivia that you shared on social media starting school and with their tennis racket and so on, and obviously you and your husband have both been professional athletes at the very top of your sport. So is that something you would, you think you'd like, not that you would be pushy parents, but something that you'd like for your children. If they, you could have believed, with those genes, they'll have the you know, the talent to do so. 

Caroline Wozniacki 28:55

I would absolutely love for them to do sports. I think sports gives so much to you and your life. You meet new friends, you learn discipline, showing up, being accountable to yourself but also to your friends and your teammates, and you know, I think, setting goals and trying to reach them. I think there's so many life lessons to learn. Whether they want to play professionally or not, you know it will be up to them, but I would love for them to do different sports.  And Olivia is obsessed with tennis right now. That's her sport, so she wants to play every day before school. So we have these soft little tennis balls that she can hit at home and she won't break anything. And James just loves watching her and he, he has these small little basketballs and hoops so we can kind of put them to the window and he stands there and dunks or he sits there and dunks and that's  pretty cool. But I think Olivia especially has a lot of energy and she loves sports. So I think once she starts, then James will want to play sports as well. 

Sue Anstiss 29:58

Absolutely, love that competition.  And, finally, it's obviously been an absolute joy to watch your return to play again this year. But I wonder what are, you know, your ultimate ambitions in the game, and obviously we've got Paris 2024 next year, so you know, where else migh we see you? What are your hopes and goals? 

Caroline Wozniacki 30:14

Yeah, I mean, I think Olympics in Paris is a big goal and a big dream of mine. I would love to do that. That would absolutely be the highlight of next year. So that's what I'm working towards and hoping for. Other than that, you know, I just I want to go out there, play my best, do my best and see kind of where that brings me, and I'm excited to compete again against the best players in the world. And you know, I did well at The US Open and I'm hoping that I can continue to do well next year and stay healthy and, and you know, play the tournaments that I love to play and bring the family to different places in the world and they get to experience that as well. 

Sue Anstiss 30:54

Oh, It was such a privilege to talk to Caroline. I can't wait to see what she goes on to achieve in 2024. 

If you enjoyed the podcast, there are over 130 episodes featuring conversations with women's sport trailblazers that are free to listen to on all podcast platforms or you can find them at our website, My previous  guests include elite athletes, broadcasters, coaches, administrators, scientists and CEOs from a vast range of sports. The whole of my book, Game On,  the Unstoppable Rise of Women's Sport, is also free to listen to on the podcast.Every episode of series 13 is me reading a chapter of my book. 

Thanks again to Sport England for backing The Game Changers through the National Lottery, and to Sam Walker at What Goes On Media, who does such a great job as our executive producer. Thank you also to my brilliant colleague at Fearless Women, Kate Hannon. 

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