New York: Former World No 1 Caroline Wozniacki knows just what to expect when she steps on a tennis court, but tackling the New York Marathon is another matter.
Ready to run: Tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki poses with her New York Marathon race bib at a promotional event in New York on Wednesday. Pic/Getty Images
"I'm a little nervous," the Dane admitted Wednesday as she looked ahead to her first crack at the 26.2-mile (42 km) distance on Sunday. "This is the farthest I'm going to run so far. It's going to be an unbelievable experience. This event has always been on my bucket list."
Wozniacki decided to make the fantasy a reality back in June — not long after the break-up of her engagement to golf star Rory McIlroy. Since then she has squeezed her training runs in when she can during a busy tennis season that included a runner-up finish at the US Open.
She arrived in New York on Tuesday night via Denmark from Singapore, where she played in the WTA's season-ending championships.
Wozniacki admitted she was scared initially as she began preparing for the run. "I had a few dreams where I didn't finish and had to be carried through with a wheelchair," she said.
Contrary to fears that combining marathon training with tennis would lead to injury or fatigue, Wozniacki says she's never felt better and credited her running with helping her in a three-hour slug-fest with Maria Sharapova in Singapore last week.
However, the 24-year-old has received some advice from Japanese WTA veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, who has run marathons. "She told me that she had a really tough time, but she had a great time as well," Wozniacki said.
"Obviously, you have to watch out for your body, but I think, as an athlete, you know your body so well. You know when to push it. You know to hold back."
Wozniacki has a time goal in mind, but isn't ready to share it. She's also running for a children's charity, and has already raised $50,689 (R30 lakh approx) for Team For Kids, which funds youth fitness programs.