NEW YORK - From fellow tennis players and coaches to entertainers and other sport stars, top women at the US Open have found romantic liasons off the court much different than the love matches in tennis.
While pouring their heart into their sport, they find time to share their emotions, often with others who can understand the busy celebrity lifestyle. Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy, a two-time major champion, stopped by the year’s final Grand Slam event to watch Danish sixth seed girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, who was later upset in the third round. “It was good. I was only there for one day,” McIlroy said, adding that he was going to watch her next match on television after playing that day in a PGA playoff event in Boston.
Wozniacki later went to see him play after her ouster. “It was nice for her to be here,” McIlroy said. “I persuaded her to come up here for a night. After this we’ll go back to New York for a few days and hang out.” Wozniacki said that watching McIlroy play is not the easiest thing for her to do because she cares so much yet is helpless to do more than inspire. “It’s always worse when you can’t do anything about it, especially when it’s close and he’s close to closing out a tournament. I think that always makes you a bit nervous because there’s nothing you can do about it,” she said.
“We both love what we do. It will come up in conversation regularly, but it’s not something that we purposely talk about or avoid.” Injured Russian beauty Maria Sharapova skipped the Open but was watching Bulgarian boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov play at Wimbledon and said, “I’m sure people want to know more, but yet I try to keep my personal life private.” On the eve of the US Open, Russian 14th seed Maria Kirilenko tweeted a photo of the spot near court five where she met Alex Ovechkin in 2011. Now she and the National Hockey League Most Valuable Player are engaged to be married.
“This court, it’s just a history for us,” Kirilenko tweeted. Serena Williams says little about her romantic life, but she has been linked with Paris-based coach Patrick Mouratoglou, a father of three in the process of getting divorced, and spends plenty of time at her flat in Paris. After a first-round exit from last year’s French Open, Williams turned to Mouratoglou for advice and then won the Wimbledon, Olympic and US Open crowns.
But just ahead of this year’s Wimbledon start, Sharapova took a swipe at Williams for the relationship. “If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” Sharapova said. Williams says Mouratoglou has made a difference in her performance as she has lost only 13 games in five matches and appears poised to win her 17th career Grand Slam title.
“I think more than anything I would say just consistency and getting up for every match,” Williams said when asked where he has helped her improve. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a Grand Slam or if it’s a small tournament, just really wanting it, just to do that, knowing that I can do that.” Two-time reigning Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, the second seed from Belarus, has had to cope without singer-boyfriend Redfoo, who is in Australia during the Flushing Meadows fortnight.
“My game is my game. He has nothing to do with that,” she said. Redfoo was around her during much of her 2012 run to the US Open final, but Azarenka joked about his absence this time, saying, “Why? Because he’s a judge on the X Factor. I don’t know why he’s there. I’m not so happy about it either. “I’m joking. Today is his birthday in the States, but it was his birthday yesterday in Australia.” Redfoo, whose real name is Stefan Gordy and who is the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jnr, combined with his nephew to form music group LMFAO.
The 38-year-old American tweeted his love to Azarenka for a victory over Williams in a US Open tuneup final, saying, “Congrats to baby love for winning the Cincinnati Open.” Azarenka tweeted back a heart to Redfoo after he posted from Australia “breakfast time!!!! Whoooooo! I love your outfit baby!” and he praised an earlier win saying, “Omg yes.. what a great match today!”