Wozniacki and McIlroy seeking different comforts after heartbreaking split


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It's been a very tough week for Caroline Wozniacki, who saw her impending marriage to Rory McIlroy called off abruptly in one of the most heartbreaking fashions possible.

The highest-profile relationship in the world of sport - a meeting of world number ones in their respective sports - seemed one of the happiest celebrity couples on the planet, despite constant news stories and opinion articles claiming that the pair's professional careers were being sacrificed for the sake of young love.

But, in their happiness, McIlroy and Wozniacki didn't seem to care. The wedding invitations had already been sent out - with former US President Bill Clinton reportedly on the guest list - and a professional planner had organised the whole lavish event in New York, with a swish venue booked for November 8.

That was, until McIlroy issued a dramatic and emotional statement explaining that he was not ready for marriage, and that the two had gone their separate ways - despite the pair seeming like sport's happiest power couple ever since McIlroy asked the Danish tennis superstar to marry him on New Year's Eve.

Wozniacki has endured a horrible few days, but she has now come out to thank her fans publicly on social media for their support and backing after the engagement was ended so savagely.

It may sound ridiculous to some that a football team is coming to a dumped girl's rescue, but that is the standing in which Wozniacki holds her favourite sports team.

Some fans have been regrettably unkind on Twitter - suggesting that Bridget Jones had Chardonnay while Wozniacki has Liverpool, and so on.

But the overwhelming volume of comments have been far more supportive and conciliatory; after all, we've almost all been there - and know that the best help is, simply, whatever helps.

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Wozniacki sports a Liverpool shirt on court

[McIlroy dumps Wozniacki after sending wedding invitations]

The tweet from Wozniacki came as Manchester United fan McIlroy partnered former Red Devils players Peter Schmeichel, Phil Neville and Teddy Sheringham in a pro-am tournament ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

McIlroy was asked if he'd considered pulling out of the event - after all, he has a miserable record at Wentworth in any case.

But he insisted that he "saw no reason" to do so, and insisted that he always honours his commitments.

The bitter irony of that unguarded statement from a young man who is also clearly in a lot of pain will not be lost on Wozniacki.

Worse, McIlroy's decision to carry on regardless comes in stark contrast to reports that his former fiancée is poised to pull out of the French Open.

As one of only four Grand Slams in a tennis year, it would be a huge decision for Wozniacki, who has also been nursing a knee problem, to pull out with her agent saying that the break-up has "hardly helped" her recovery.

The implication is that the 23-year-old former world number one is struggling with the sort of 50-50 niggle that tennis players often try and play through for the sake of appearing in Grand Slam events.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that - and we're certain that the crowd in Paris will give this incredibly popular player a fabulously warm reception.

Apart from anything else it would be heartbreaking for Wozniacki to hide herself away while McIlroy is apparently ready to move on and focus on his golf, saying that he would not be answering any questions about his former relationship and then duly having to answer plenty at a press conference at Wentworth.

"I just want to get my head into golf this week and concentrate on the tournament and try and do well," McIlroy said.

"I'm not going to lie. It's going to be very difficult. But at least when I get inside the ropes (I can) just try and concentrate on the shot at hand."

Asked if he had been tempted to withdraw from the event following his much-publicised break up, the Northern Irishman added: "No, I didn't think there was any reason to do that.

"I made a commitment to be here. Once I gave my word that I would, I wasn't going to go back on it."

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The toughest thing for both young stars, of course, is the fact that the whole saga has been played out in front of the world's media - and now there are reports citing "friends" of the tennis player who claim that the split came as a "total shock". That's despite McIlroy describing it as "amicable and mutual".

The pair first came together back in 2011, instantly prompting lists of "great sporting power couples" and so on as two of the world's most charismatic and engaging young stars hooked up, with the world egging them on.

But all too quickly stories began to appear suggesting that the relationship was doing neither of them much good in their respective careers.

McIlroy, who had won the US Open by a record margin earlier in the year, suffered a dramatic slump in form, while Wozniacki also tumbled down the rankings and out of the top 10.

The young Norther Irishman has also slipped out of the top 10 - but hit back at the end of the next season, winning the US PGA Championship to claim his second career Major.

Wozniacki had no such luck. Since the pair got together, she has made it to the quarter-finals of just one out of nine Grand Slams, and has won just three WTA titles. Considering that she had won 18 tournaments in three years before they came together, that marks an astonishing decline.

It must have hurt, but her evident happiness in her personal life. Just a few months ago she was talking about having children with her "amazing fiance" being "not too far in the future".

Sadly, it seems such talk seems to have spooked McIlroy - or, just as likely, forced him to come to terms with the necessity of ending a relationship which he clearly felt wasn't right.

Only the two stars themselves know exactly what did and didn't happen. But let's hope that, for both of their sakes, they do at least make the best of it by focusing on their work and getting two stellar careers back on track.

And one day, when they each find the person who is right for them, let's all wish them all the happiness in the world.

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