Tennis great Caroline Wozniacki won thirty professional titles and held the No. 1 position in the world for over 70 weeks from 2010 to 2011. In 2018, immediately after returning to the No. 1 spot, 28-year-old Wozniacki was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune ailment that will cause agony, inflammation, and stiffness in our joints. She is now encouraging others with RA by sharing her story and encouraging them to do the exact.

Wozniacki shakes hands after a match with Naomi Osaka at the China Open in 2019.

Wozniacki, right, shakes arms immediately after a match with Naomi Osaka at the China Open up in 2019.

When did you to start with notice signs of RA?

In 2018, I started off not feeling my greatest. I had joint agony that moved close to from my arms and toes to my elbows and knees. I felt exhausted and run down. My voice acquired raspy even even though I didn’t have a chilly. I chalked it up to being exhausted, pushed via it, and kept participating in tennis. After the match in Montreal [at the Rogers Cup] in August of that year, I woke up and advised my now husband that I pretty much could not shift. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I could not brush my tooth or carry my arms. It was a terrifying and terrible feeling.

Had been you diagnosed right absent or did it choose a even though?

Finding a analysis was annoying. I noticed a amount of physicians, but they could not uncover a difficulty. They said probably it was in my head or that probably I was out of shape. But I knew there was some thing really mistaken. I wouldn’t halt pushing right until I acquired responses. The good news is, I ultimately uncovered a health care provider who took me critically and really listened to me. He did even further blood assessments, which prompt that I had an autoimmune condition. So, he referred me to an exceptional rheumatologist, who diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis in October of 2018. She put collectively a remedy strategy with me and we started off the journey to get far better then and there.

How did you respond when you acquired the analysis?

I remember sitting at the doctor’s office and contemplating: Hold out, is not arthritis for old individuals? This won’t be able to be happening to me. I was the No. 1 or two ranked tennis participant in the world. I was at the prime of my sport. I didn’t fully grasp. But at the exact time, I was relieved it was not some thing worse. After the preliminary fear had handed, I immediately shifted to concentrating on what I required to do to get far better.

How are you feeling now?

Most days I really feel great, which is amazing. There are also some days that I wake up with signs. For me it is all about accepting that this is the “new me.” I give myself the likelihood to just choose it uncomplicated and not overdo it. I am also fortunate to have a quite supportive family members. The challenging portion about RA is the fact that you won’t be able to see it. If you are not feeling properly, it can be not like you have a damaged arm or a forged. It was an adjustment for my family members to really listen and know exactly where I was coming from with my RA. I am grateful to my family members for being comprehension and encouraging me get far better.

Wozniacki celebrates after her win at the 2020 Australian Open

Wozniacki celebrates immediately after her win at the 2020 Australian Open up.

What do you do to manage tension and remain healthier with RA?

What has been really helpful is to compose down what makes me really feel superior and what makes me really feel lousy. So, for example, I will compose down what I ate the day ahead of and how it made me really feel the subsequent day. This will help me to know what may trigger a flare-up of my arthritis. Not being on the street as considerably [touring for tennis tournaments] has made it less complicated for me to take in even much healthier meals. I take in additional of an anti-inflammatory food plan now. I take in a ton of greens, have minimize out really fatty and greasy meals, and decreased the amount of crimson meat I take in. Touring considerably less has also served me minimize tension. I am quite considerably a go-go-go human being with every thing going a hundred miles an hour. I have discovered it is Okay to choose a deep breath, appreciate the minute, and choose it uncomplicated sometimes.

What advice do you have for others who are confronting the ailment?

Get as considerably data as attainable. Uncover a health care provider you really feel relaxed with and set a sport strategy that operates for you independently. I say that mainly because with RA what might operate for you or me might not operate for another human being. With the right treatment, you can really get your daily life again and really feel far better. I also uncover that hearing others’ tales and sharing mine really will help. Which is why I acquired started off with the AdvantageHers marketing campaign for girls with autoimmune disorders to share their tales.* We can all get via this collectively as 1 team and 1 community.

You climbed Mount Kilimanjaro past year with your family members. How did it really feel to carry out that with RA?

That was an amazing knowledge and has been on my bucket list for a prolonged time. Finding to do it with my family members was quite exclusive. It was so difficult. We climbed for seven days and were being all exhausted, but when we acquired to the prime, it felt so rewarding. It was an amazing detail to be ready to do. I will remember it for the relaxation of my daily life.

What is subsequent for Caroline Wozniacki?

Tennis has been these types of a large portion of my daily life. I want to keep it in my daily life in some way, which could imply carrying out some thing like Tv commentary in the long term. I also hope to keep touring the world with my family members!

* The National Institutes of Overall health was not included in the generation of the project, and reference to it does not represent or indicate endorsement by any federal company.