By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Caroline Wozniacki, the former Eastbourne champion and an ex-world no1, is facing a slump in her career after a 2nd Round exit at the 2013 French Open.
And her romantic interests off the court with Irish professional Rory McIlroy, who surprisingly finished outside the top 50 in a recent tournament, seems to be going hand-on-hand with her career nosedive.
The once great Dane has not made the 3rd Round in any WTA tournaments since April, and reached just two semi-final slots so far in 2013 going into the grass court season.
Wozniacki was crowned champion in three tournaments over a five month period prior to dating her beau in July 2011. Yet the 22-year-old has only won three events since they became an item.
She was considered one of the best players on the circuit in 2011 and a potential Grand Slam champion, but the following year she axed her father from his coaching role but then made a U-turn.
World no2 McIlroy, following their 18-month dating ‘honeymoon’ phase, is starting to stutter – having missed three cuts since November 2012 and ahead of the US Open the affable 24-year-old is not considered to be in the hunt for honours.
McIlroy’s recent putting skills have been atrocious, with the Ulsterman ranked no100 on the Professsion Golfers Association Tour in strokes gained putting.
And during The Players Championship, McIlroy was quizzed during his opening round by fellow pro Steve Stricker about his girlfriend. Stricker admitted: “I don’t care about Rory, I was asking about Caroline, I was asking a bunch of questions about her.”
Whether Wozniacki has the all-round game to bounce back on grass, her favourite surface, is an intriguing proposition. She has failed to live up to the hype surrounding her ever since romance meant she took her eye off the ball, and the 2013 AEGON International at Eastbourne is her first chance to prove the doubters wrong.