Caroline Wozniacki's Early Exit at 2014 French Open Not All About Rory McIlroy

Lindsay GibbsFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2014

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This we can all agree on: It's been a rough week for Caroline Wozniacki.

Last Wednesday, golfer Rory McIlroy announced that he had ended his engagement with the Danish tennis star only two days after their wedding invitations went out. Apparently, he just wasn't ready for marriage. On Sunday, McIlroy won the European PGA Championship. This Tuesday, Wozniacki lost in the first round of the French Open to Yanina Wickmayer.

But despite their grouping in the same paragraph, there's not necessarily any correlation between those three events.

The press sure wants there to be, though. After the former No. 1 fell to Wickmayer, a Belgian player that Wozniacki had beaten six out of their seven meetings, she was the recipient of both mockery and pity from fans and media members:

Meanwhile, after McIlroy's victory on Sunday, he was praised and it was openly suggested that he was better off without Wozniacki:

But things are not as simple as "McIlroy wins the breakup, Wozniacki loses." First of all, there's no way to know that the two wouldn't have had the same results if they were still together. McIlroy had finished in the top 10 in his past four tournaments, including the Masters and the Players Championship, and was bound to put it all together one week. 

Wozniacki, meanwhile, has been dealing with injuries throughout clay season. She had wrist problems earlier in the month, but she was then bothered by knee pain at the Mutua Madrid Open and ended up pulling out of the following week's tournament in Rome.

Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

In her composed press conference after the loss, she admitted that while not completely healthy, she was fairly happy with how her wrist and knee held up during the match, but that she was still rusty because she had just begun practicing again a few days ago when she arrived in Paris.

The truth is, her time off and injury concerns probably had a lot more to do with her loss to Wickmayer than the end of her engagement.

It's easy to pin the blame on off-the-court drama during situations like this, but that's not always fair to the people involved. Even with McIlroy by her side, she still would have struggled against the dangerous Wickmayer due to her form and fitness. 

While McIlroy released a public statement last week admitting that he had broken off the engagement, then gave a teary-eyed public press conference where he called it a "mutual" decision, Wozniacki has laid low for the past week.

When facing the press for the first time on Tuesday at the French Open, the Dane began with a statement acknowledging the tough week, but then said she would only answer questions about her match, according to The Associated Press (via 

I don't really want to talk about my personal life. I hope that you all can understand that. The only thing I really have to say is that, you know, (I want to) thank everybody for their support and sweet messages.

What happens in my personal life, I just want to really keep that between my closest people around me. You know, I just have to move on.

Later in the same press conference, Wozniacki admitted, "You're not prepared for something like this, and (it) came a bit as a shock."

She wants to move on and keep the focus on her tennis, but the media is not going to make that easy on her. McIlroy and Wozniacki embraced the spotlight throughout their three years together, and it's going to be hard to hide now that the relationship is over.

I mean, her press conference on Tuesday was given high priority. Tennis Channel didn't show any of her third set against Wickmayer, but it showed her entire press conference live, something it rarely does. Despite her minimal talk about her personal life during the press conference, headlines everywhere conflated the engagement with the loss and ignored any injury concerns.

It doesn't end there. Via the Belfast Telegraph, a new wave of those pesky, unnamed sources has come out and called Wozniacki "bridezilla," while journalists have inappropriately speculated about what this breakup will do to her career. During her relationship with McIlroy, it was suggested that her dedication to him was holding her back. Now that they've split, people are saying she can't succeed without him. She just can't win.

But some are seeing through this. Her composure before the media on Tuesday impressed many, including Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim. He suggests that she will get through this unscathed:

Wozniacki may never return to the No. 1 rank. Maybe her game won't permit that. Maybe her body won't permit that. ('I guess I'm getting old,' she said, 'It's like a car that is 10 years old, all of sudden it starts breaking down.') But she won't be undone by having a wedding scuttled. And in many ways, her performance today, both on and off the court, is more impressive and more admirable than winning a stupid golf tournament. 

It's important to remember through all of this that Wozniacki is only 23 years old. She's already been to a major final, won 21 titles on the WTA Tour and finished as year-end No. 1 twice. She's a lot more than just the other half of Wozzilroy, and she always has been.

It's tempting to make all of Wozniacki's tennis-match outcomes over the next couple of months about Rory and her emotional state. And while that may have something to do with them, the truth is that we can't know that for certain.

At this point, Wozniacki just wants to shift her focus back on her tennis career. Perhaps that's what the rest of us should do as well.