Wozniacki shakes off the 'victim' tag

With a smile, a wave and a thumbs-up to Denmark's Crown Prince Frederick in the players' box, Caroline Wozniacki strolled into the Wimbledon fourth round. The unbetrothed 16th seed has a new Spanish admirer, and her old sunny outlook. Royalty is on her side, and so is good will.

Wozniacki was dumped over the phone by her golfer fiance, Rory McIlroy, just days after their wedding invitations had been posted, in the week before the start of last month's French Open. He immediately won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth; she lost in the first round at Roland Garros, wearing a green and orange outfit that it was noted bore an unfortunate similarity to the colours of the Irish flag.

But here she is in the safe all-white of Wimbledon - Pat Cash controversies over enforced bra-lessness due to "ridiculous" one-centimetre limitations on the size of coloured trim notwithstanding. After partying in Miami with her gal-pal Serena Williams ("I love Caro - we have a great time together,'' said the five-time Wimbledon champion) the Danish blonde has now caught the eye of Spanish ladies' man Feliciano - aka "Deliciano" - Lopez.

Wozniacki, who turns 24 next month, has handled herself with class and dignity since the news broke of her broken engagement, McIlroy having presented his wife-to-be with a giant sparkler after the question was popped along with the bubbly in Sydney on New Year's Eve.

In Paris, when a wan-looking Wozniacki fronted a packed media room, the former world No.1 opened with a prepared statement: “The only thing I have to say is to thank everybody for their support and sweet messages,'' she said. "What happens in my personal life, I want to keep that between the closest people around me. I just have to move on.”

After reaching the semi-finals at Eastbourne, she spoke of being "very happy with where I am at the moment", and of what did not break her eventually making her stronger, blah, blah. The clouds were lifting, and were nowhere to be seen when Wozniacki spoke after her opening round about all manner of subjects, including Lopez and internet dating ("I'm not that desperate?'').Trust the British tabloids, but Wozniacki has treated it all with good humour.

Q: You seem to have a great admirer in Feliciano Lopez?

CW: You noticed?

Q: He told us. He said he watched two of your matches, likes you, admires you, knows your dad.

CW: He's already making his way in through my dad?

Q. Then he followed you on court today.

CW: Yeah. I noticed he was on the sidelines in Eastbourne. No, he's a great guy. Playing well. This is very awkward [smiling].

After beating Brit Naomi Broady in the second round, Wozniacki admitted that laughing was the only response to questions like those. "I mean, what else is there to do? I got a few people out there asking me if I want to date them. I'm like, 'Well, I'm taking my time, taking it easy at the moment'. I kind of feel like I need to be single for a while.''

She is now in the serious business of trying to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final, having equalled her best result from 2009-11, and on Monday will face the unexpected challenge of Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who uspet Australian Open champion Li Na in two tiebreaks to leave dark horse Agnieszka Radwanska and 2011 winner Petra Kvitova, who beat five-time champion Venus Williams in three close sets, the two most fancied chances in the bottom half of the draw.

Wozniacki, meanwhile, was typically conservative with her winners (nine) and frugal with her unforced errors (four) in her third round against 16-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh, but just pleased to be back among the last 16 at the grand slam for the first time in 18 months. "It feels great. I'll really pleased. I'm happy. My game is in great shape. I love playing at Wimbledon, so the more matches I can get the happier I am. It's exciting.''

After rating her game at a similar level to when she spent 67 weeks at No.1, Wozniacki then had to endure the unnecessary observation that ''in the good old days you always got to the fourth round ... you seem to do better when Rory is not about''. Her response was to insist that her private life has nothing to do with her tennis, which is about hitting a yellow ball over the net and inside the lines more often than your opponent.

Still, there is also the game of the mind. "To play good tennis, your head has to be there. I'm in a good place in my head right now mentally. I think that shows on court as well. I'm just so focused on what I have to do out there and what my purpose is when I go on court, and I think that shows.''

There was one more question about the support she is receiving, given her recent traumas, and whether an overdue grand slam title would be a nice reward for the dignity the former US Open finalist has showed. Yes, Wozniacki is feeling the love, but enough of all this sympathy. Please.

"Honestly, you know, I think everyone here wants to make me a victim. I'm not a victim. I'm just playing tennis. I'm going about my life. I'm playing well. I'm in the second week,'' said the popular Dane. "I have a few matches to go hopefully, quite a few. We just have to see by the end of next week what happens. But, you know, I hope that I'll keep going.''

This story Wozniacki shakes off the 'victim' tag first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.