January 02, 2012 00:00 By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
She is the world No 1 in tennis and he is the reigning US Open golf champion.
And not every day romance springs between top stars of two different sports.
Love was all around in the beach resort city as tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and golf’s young gun Rory McIlroy with their families spent time together in a perfectly matched schedule. She played a charity match with world No 3 Victoria Azarenka while the Ulsterman, who is having an off season, joined her to tighten their relationship.
Whatever they did and wherever they laid their feet on, it caught the media attention. At the spa, on the beach, where they gave alms to monks and rode horses, or at the Hua Hin Safari where they enjoyed elephant shows and fed crocodiles, they were bombarded with questions by an army of photographers and cameramen.
With or without the media, it did not matter. They still nagged, hugged and clung to each other – just like love birds. Well, when the tree of love grows inside you, the only focus is between you and the other person.
“It’s my first New Year away from home, but to spend time with Caroline and her family is something special. My mom and dad are here too,” said the world No 3 McIlroy who has to skip the Thailand Golf Championship a few weeks ago due to sickness.
If one takes a close look at Caroline’s neck, one would notice a red locket in the shape of a heart. That was the Christmas present McIlroy gave Wozniacki, although they were not together at that time.
“I also got a watch, a frame with a picture inside, I got speakers and I got these [she pointed to her ear rings]. So I’m spoiled now,” said the smiley-faced Wozniacki who in return bought him a necklace and a few T shirts. But that was not the real valuable gift from her to him.
“It’s very nice to spend time with Caroline, we didn’t spend time together during Christmas but we could on New Year’s day,” said the 22-year-old golfer.
Romance has not distracted them from pursuing their professions. McIlroy, with Wozniacki around him, won the Shanghai Masters in early December. The Dane feels his presence would benefit her tennis career. “He’s young and successful. I went to my first real golf tournament in Shanghai during the first week of my off season. It’s a completely new atmosphere and a learning experience for me. You learn small things all the time, learn how nice they are to each other. They are the real champions in sports. You just learn small things all the time, and it’s just about taking them in, and use it to your advantage,” said Wozniacki, who is determined to win her first major this year.
Although they appeared relaxed in front of the media, there were a few awkward moments when they were left speechless by questions regarding “proposal” and the “ring.”
Wozniacki was embarrassed and McIlroy was reluctant before she said: “Did you hear that?”
“No I didn’t hear anything,” he answered with a timid smile.