Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki is trying to move past her very public and embarrassing breakup with World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy.
The U.S. Open begins on Monday. She spoke openly about her spilt with McIlroy for the first time with John Koblin of The New York Times.
“I don’t want to have my name stuck with him forever,” Wozniacki said. “I’m my own person. I have my own career. The years we had together were great, and unfortunately, things had to end like they did.”
Last May, McIlroy broke up with Wozniacki over the phone right after they mailed the wedding invitations. They had gotten engaged during a 2014 New Years Eve celebration. They had been together for three years.
“You start thinking what was wrong?” Ms. Wozniacki said. “What went wrong?”
McIlroy has become the hottest player in professional golf since breaking up with Wozniacki. He won four tournaments since the split, including the PGA Championship, WGC-Bridgestone and the British Open.
Wozniacki won one tournament this year and is ranked No. 11 in the world.
They haven’t kept in touch with each other, and Wozniacki hasn’t watched McIlroy on TV win the biggest tournaments in golf.
“I don’t follow his life and I don’t really follow golf anymore,” Wozniacki said. “I don’t believe in holding onto someone who doesn’t want to be with you. I definitely want someone who just wants you for who you are. I’m very upfront, I’m very honest and I’m very straightforward. I think some people get intimidated by that. I’m not saying Rory did. In general, a lot of people do, and if I’m in a relationship that’s strong, I’m the person I am, and that’s exactly what you get.”
Wozniacki is well known in sports circles, but she’s not a household name.
During her interview with The Times, two 20-year-old women sitting across from Wozniacki overheard her talking about her career and her breakup. They couldn’t figure out who she was.
So they Googled “tennis player breakup” and identified Wozniacki since she dominated the search results.
A victory in the U.S. Open would not only be excellent emotional therapy for Wozniacki, it would improve her world ranking, generate more endorsement deals, make her more recognizable, and build her personal brand — so that she isn’t remembered as the tennis player who broke up with the No. 1 golfer in the world.