Tennis: Wozniacki sparkles on and off the court at Open

By Jocelyn Gecker

Caroline Wozniacki says confirming her engagement with Rory McIlroy means they can both focus on their careers. Photo / AP
Caroline Wozniacki says confirming her engagement with Rory McIlroy means they can both focus on their careers. Photo / AP

The searing sunlight wasn't the only thing sparkling on Caroline Wozniacki's court, where the crowds got a glimpse of her very large, new diamond engagement ring from golfer Rory McIlroy.

Wozniacki had tweeted a picture of the ring after McIlroy popped the question on New Year's Eve in Sydney.

But she provided a few more details yesterday after winning her first-round match at the Australian Open, where temperatures for her morning match topped 38C and got hotter later in the day.

The former No1-ranked player raced to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino, then sat on her bench, pulled the ring from her tennis bag and slipped it on her finger. An on-court interviewer asked her to hold it up for the crowd and recount the proposal, which she said was very traditional.

"He asked my parents," she beamed. "He went down on one knee."

And he chose her favourite number in carats, she said, which explains the ring's impressive size.

Later, Wozniacki was asked what her favourite number was.

"It's also the Chinese lucky number," she said, smiling.

"It's eight."

The 23-year-old Wozniacki and her 24-year-old fiance are one of the top power couples in sport. They began seeing each other in 2011, shortly after McIlroy won his first major with a record-setting performance in the US Open at Congressional.

Winning a first major has been one of Wozniacki's goals for years.

The Danish player was ranked No1 for a total of 67 weeks, finishing with the year-end top ranking in 2010 and 2011, when critics joked she was the best player on the WTA Tour to have never won a Grand Slam title.

Now ranked 10th, she said she didn't expect marriage would change her professional priorities and, if anything, would bring a new "calmness" to their lives.

"We know what we want, and it just gives us even more time to focus on our careers," she said, adding that McIlroy's career was bound to last longer than hers: "Obviously, he's going to retire later than me.

"Golf you can play until you're 50.

"For me right now, I try to focus on the Grand Slams," added Wozniacki, who was a 2011 semifinalist in Melbourne and a two-time semifinalist at the US Open. "That's what I'm missing on my resume.

"So that's obviously what I would like to achieve."

Wozniacki faces Christina McHale in the second round.

- AP

- NZ Herald

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