Business

Wozniacki enjoys sweet taste of commercial success

Caroline Wozniacki signed up with Godiva in February this year
Image caption Caroline Wozniacki is keen to try her own chocolate making skills

Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has the crowd, if not necessarily the expensive confectionery, securely in the palm of her hand, as she turns her attentions to chocolate making.

The photogenic 24-year-old Dane is using a day off in the run up to Wimbledon to promote her newest commercial partner, Belgian chocolatier Godiva, and specifically the launch of their tennis-themed Sweet Caroline chocolate.

In front of selected guests in London she tries her hand at some intricate design work, but despite expert hand-eye co-ordination on court she is finding this an altogether trickier task.

"I love having input into the chocolates and spending a day with the team working it all out," she says cheerily, before taking time to pose for pictures and chat with the awe-struck guests.

That unaffected air explains her popularity with tennis fans (she has 1.35 million Facebook likes and 870,000 twitter followers), and also makes her a marketing man's dream.

Indeed Godiva says it believes this partnership will be a fruitful one, not only because of her playing skills, but also her "appeal well beyond the tennis court".

'Good fit'

According to Forbes Wozniacki made close to $11m (£6.9m) in 2014, with endorsements making up 85% of that total. Meanwhile, her total career earnings from prize money alone stands at $20m, with $600, 000 won so far this year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wozniacki has sporting deals with Babolat racquets and kitmaker Adidas

The former world number one has major deals with global brands like Adidas, Babolat, Rolex, Sony Ericsson, Lavazza, and others including Dubai Duty Free, US vitamin firm Usana and Danish company E-Boks.

Her Adidas deal is reputed to be one of the most lucrative in sport, and she wears tennis kit specially designed for the German firm by Stella McCartney. She says that she only works with companies that she feels comfortable with, rather than concentrating just on the financial bottom line.

"I think carefully about what sort of deals I do. I like to be an ambassador for brands that I believe in, and that are a good fit for me as a person. That is why I am happy with this latest association - it is fun for me," she says.

"I am a tennis player first, and all of this - the commercial partnerships, would not be possible without the work on court. Things like this, it is my day off. My partners are very good about giving me the time I need for my tennis, and working around that."


Image copyright Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki

Born in Odense, Denmark, on 11 July 1990 to Polish parents

Mother a volleyball player and father a footballer

Began playing tennis aged seven

Speaks eight languages and is fluent in Danish, Polish and English

Owns a Pomeranian dog Bruno - "a guy who understands me"

Was in relationship with golfer Rory McIlroy from 2011 to 2014


'Passion'

Wozniacki first broke into the Women's Tennis Association rankings in 2006, when she was just 16, having turned professional a year earlier. She ended 2010 and 2011 as the number one player in the world, and has picked up 23 WTA titles in her career.

But she is still looking for a first, elusive, major title, having been twice runner-up in the US Open final, in 2009 and 2014.

And she insists that her impressive financial record of prize money and endorsements come second to success on court.

"I am a tennis player, I don't play for the money, I play for the game and the passion and the crowd and the fans," she says. "When I started money never entered the equation, without a doubt I play for the game."

Off court she counts Serena Williams among her friends and also spends spare time relaxing with family, watching TV, adding that "I appreciate and value my time to wind down".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Dane is a big supporter of Premier League football club Liverpool

Other outside interests also include football - her father was a professional player - and she supports English Premier League team Liverpool. In 2011 she played in the Qatar Open in a signed Liverpool shirt given to her by club legend Steven Gerrard.

"I want to be positive about next season, but it is sad that Steven Gerrard will no longer be there," she says about the Anfield club's prospects next season.

Will to win

Wozniacki says she has "a few more business ideas in the pipeline, but I can't say too much about them just now".

She adds: "Another thing I would like to do is a TV, I would like to present a programme or a TV series, that would be exciting. It could be a talent show, anything that was fun to do."

Image caption Wozniacki is currently number 5 in the women's global tennis rankings

This week she is playing in the Aegon International tournament at Eastbourne as part of her preparation for Wimbledon.

And she is confident of putting on a good show at SW19, despite having yet to progress beyond the fourth round, which she has reached four times including 2014.

"I always believe I have got a good chance," she says. "Whenever I go into a tournament I want to win it."

The Godiva partnership famously came about after she told a US newspaper that she wanted to have a chocolate deal, and the enterprising Belgian company asked her if she would like to work with them.

So is there any other commercial category where she would welcome a sponsorship partner?

She laughs: "I would like an automotive partner, that would be awesome. as that is one of the categories I don't have."

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