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‘My Immune System Was in Overdrive Attacking My Body’- Caroline Wozniacki Shares Heart-Wrenching Physical Struggle as She Braves All Odds to Launch a Tennis Comeback

Published 06/30/2023, 11:51 AM EDT

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Caroline Wozniacki, a former Danish professional tennis player, held the world’s No. 1 ranking in singles in 2010 and 2011. Throughout her career, Wozniacki achieved numerous milestones, such as winning 30 WTA singles titles, reaching two Grand Slam finals, and earning an Olympic medal. However, in 2018, she revealed her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune condition that impacts the joints.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as other symptoms like fatigue, fever, and weight loss. For athletes like Wozniacki, this condition can pose significant challenges as it hinders their ability to perform at the highest level.

Caroline Wozniacki reveals her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis


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Sharing her experience in an interview with Vogue, she added, “One day, I woke up and couldn’t get out of bed. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even brush my hair or brush my teeth. Eventually, after going through five, six, seven doctors, I learned that I had a chronic inflammatory disease—​rheumatoid arthritis.

In the same conversation, she also shared the pain she had to go through during that time. Caroline said, “My joints had swollen up so painfully because my immune system was in overdrive attacking my body. And though I stayed on tour and gutted it out, all I wanted to do was sleep. (At one point, after a match, I slept for 43 out of 48 hours.)”


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Despite the challenges of living with rheumatoid arthritis, Wozniacki continued to play tennis at the highest level, even reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2020, just six months after giving birth to her daughter, Olivia. However, in December 2019, she announced that she would be retiring from professional tennis after the Australian Open in 2020.


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Wozniacki has been an outspoken advocate for rheumatoid arthritis awareness since her diagnosis. She has spoken openly about the challenges of living with the disease and has encouraged others to seek treatment and support.

Wozniacki shares the steps she followed to fight this chronic disease

After being diagnosed with such a struggling condition, Caroline had to be very particular about her routine, especially her diet.  In the conversation with Vogue, she shared that her rheumatologist came up with a plan for her. She also said that she would do everything with a lot of care like running, swimming, walking, etc.


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She would keep herself hydrated at all times and eat a very particular anti-inflammatory diet as well. Caroline also mentioned that even though the process was very complicated and precise, she continued to follow through.

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Written by:

Ishmeet Kaur


One take at a time

Ishmeet Kaur is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. Although she completed her Masters in Business Administration, her passion for writing motivated her to hone her skills as a Content Writer. After sharpening her skills in writing and managing content, Ishmeet finally stepped into her dream field: sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Bhavani Singh