Caroline Wozniacki reveals battle with auto-immune disease

Former world number one, Caroline Wozniacki has revealed she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis before the US Open and even though she’s been suffering with the autoimmnue disease, she’s been able to play through it.

The rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. Most commonly, the wrist and hands are involved, with the same joints typically involved on both sides of the body, per Wikipedia.

Wozniacki, who ended her long wait for a Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, made the announcement after being eliminated from the WTA Finals in Singapore following a loss to Elina Svitolina on Thursday.

Speaking at a presser, she said, “It turns out that I have an auto-immune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, which goes in and attacks your joints. When the body has a lot of fluids in it and you swell up, you get tired, you get exhausted, all these things.”

“In the beginning it was a shock. You just feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there, or that’s in my head, that’s what I’m known for, and all of a sudden you have this to work with.

“It’s obviously not ideal for anybody and I think when you’re a professional athlete, it’s also not even more ideal. But you find a plan, figure out what to do, you do your research, and thankfully there are great things now that you can do to it and do about it. You just kind of move on from it and work through it and figure out how to deal with it and live with it.

Caroline Wozniacki loosening up before a match during the WTA Finals this week in Singapore. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The 28-year-old Dane, despite suffering with the disease, remarkably clinched the China Open without the loss of a set earlier this month, and stated how much of an effect the victory had on her.

“I think [winning the China Open] meant so much to me,” she said. “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?

“Winning was huge. It also gave me the belief that nothing is going to set me back. I’m going to work with this and this is how it is, and I can do anything.

“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.

With the curtain now drawn on her season, Wozniacki will now set her sights on better management of the condition while also looking forward to becoming a role model for others with the condition.

“I know there are a lot of people in the world that are fighting with this, and hopefully I can be someone they can look up to and say that if I can do this, then they can too. And you just kind of have to get together and pull each other up.”

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