Tennis

Wozniacki feels right at home on Key Biscayne

Caroline Wozniacki, who has a residence on Fisher Island, reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open when Garbine Muguruza retired from their match on Monday.
Caroline Wozniacki, who has a residence on Fisher Island, reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open when Garbine Muguruza retired from their match on Monday. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

When former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki comes to play the Miami Open, it’s as if she’s almost going home.

The Dane, who has legal residence status in the tax haven of Monaco, has owned a luxurious Fisher Island penthouse with expansive ocean views since mid-2014.

On Monday, after an abbreviated fourth-round match against sixth seed Garbine Muguruza — the Spaniard retired from the match complaining of heat-related dizziness and stomach pains after losing the first set 7-6 (7-1) — the 12th-seeded Wozniacki headed back to her nearby island retreat.

“Yeah, it definitely feels great to be here,” Wozniacki said. “I stay at my own apartment. I can cook, just relax, and I have friends here. So it definitely feels like a little bit of a home advantage being here.”

A world traveler, Wozniacki actually maintains residences in a few key locales around the globe, a strategy designed to avoid hunkering down in hotels.

To that extent she’s become something of a real estate baron with dwellings in at least Copenhagen, Monaco, New York and Miami, with the latter becoming her choice of training ground during the November-December offseason.

“I just like to feel at home,” she said, explaining her collection of homes.

“I’m not that many [weeks here] because we travel so much, and I spend the majority of my time in Monaco. But in wintertime I’m here for a month-and-a-half straight and train here before Australia.”

This is the 26-year-old Wozniacki’s 10th consecutive appearance at the Miami Open, with her best showing being the 2012 semifinals as well as reaching four additional quarterfinals, including this year.

Talk of the possibility the Miami Open, clearly in need of an upgraded facelift, might have to vacate its Key Biscayne home hasn’t escaped Wozniacki. Her hope is it will stay within the Miami confines, preferably at its current location.

“I think people really love tennis here in Miami and in South Florida, in general,” she said. “You see it just walking down the street. People know tennis. People love tennis. People come to watch tennis here, so I think it’s really important.”

Wozniacki shares that love for tennis and has embraced the good and bad times of her career.

She maintained the No. 1 ranking for 67 weeks during 2010-2011, but her best Grand Slam results are two U.S. Open finals.

During the past couple of years, Wozniacki has struggled to retain upper-echelon status in the game. By 2015, she ended the season at No. 17, marking the first time she finished a year outside of the top 10 since 2009.

In 2016, she was sidelined with a right ankle injury for more than two months and by the start of the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the semifinals, her ranking had dropped to No. 74. But that was the start of her resurgence, and she closed the year by winning titles at Tokyo and Hong Kong.

This season she continues to work with her father, Piotr, but has added Sascha Bajin, a former hitting partner of Serena Williams, to her team. She already has madethe finals at Doha, Qatar, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and has reached at least the quarterfinals at nine of her past 10 tournaments.

“I’m going to keep putting myself in position to do well and win trophies and that’s all I can really do,” she said. “I think, honestly, I just want to play and I just want to win.

“Playing on big courts is what I love to do and that’s what it’s all about for me.”

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