Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open

Caroline Wozniacki serves up free meals for elderly at Hong Kong charity food kitchen

World No 6 dons hairnet and apron at Food Angel charity in Sham Shui Po, while Elina Svitolina enjoys a game with pupils at To Kwa Wan primary school

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 5:57pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 10:55pm

Caroline Wozniacki is used to serving up aces but the reigning Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open champion swapped the court for the kitchen on Monday as she dished out free meals to elderly citizens at a food charity in Sham Shui Po.

Denmark’s Wozniacki kicks off her bid to defend her crown at Victoria Park on Tuesday but took time out from training to prepare and serve hot meals for some of Hong Kong’s neediest at Food Angel on Hai Tan Street.

“I think it’s amazing what they do for the community,” Wozniacki said of the charity. “I heard that they give out 7,000 plates of food every day, that’s huge. I’m happy to be part of it.”

World No 6 Wozniacki donned a hairnet and apron as she packed rice, vegetables and meat into containers – but admitted the kitchen is not quite her forte.

“I like to bake but I’m not a big cook,” she said, smiling.

Still, those seated in the food hall gave the former world No 1 an appreciative round of applause after she finished putting plates on their tables.

“I hope everyone has a great day and thank you for having all of us here,” she told them on a microphone, through a translator. “I’m sorry for all the cameras. Enjoy your meal.”

Eugenie Bouchard trades texts with Super Bowl Twitter date as she prepares for long-awaited Hong Kong Tennis Open debut

Wozniacki has also found time in her busy schedule to see some of the sights in Hong Kong.

“We went to the Sea World – er, no, what’s it called? Ocean Park!” she said, laughing. “I always confuse them.

“It was fun, we had a great time. We had a nice hike walking around there, but it was hot, so it was a good workout.

“I’ve never been over to The Peak even though I’ve been in Hong Kong many times. So maybe this time.”

World No 4 Elina Svitolina also took some time to visit Po Leung Kuk Lam Man Chan English Primary School in To Kwa Wan on Monday afternoon.

The Ukrainian, who leads the WTA Tour with five titles this year, was welcomed by hundreds of schoolchildren looking over the balconies outside their classrooms during recess as she stepped out into the courtyard for some training games with a group of youngsters.

Li Na ‘like a god’ but China will find their next champion soon, says Agnieszka Radwanska ahead of Hong Kong Tennis Open

“Actually I was surprised, so many kids, so many happy faces,” said Svitolina. “I always enjoy to play with the kids. This one was very special as well.

“It was a very warm welcome.It was very nice to see all of them.

“I do clinics in so many countries. It’s very important to promote tennis, to give children the opportunity to see someone who plays on a world tour.

“It’s just very special for me to share with them, if they have any questions I’m always happy to answer.”

Wozniacki and Svitolina start their campaigns at Victoria Park on Tuesday against Eugenie Bouchard and Zarina Diyas respectively.

“I’ve had a great year and I’ve been playing well,” said Wozniacki, who retained her Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo last month. “I feel confident and comfortable. I’m just excited to keep the momentum going.

‘I want to make my Hong Kong grandparents proud’: Aussie tennis starlet Priscilla Hon on a mission in her second home

“I like playing here, it’s good conditions. It was a good tournament for me last year. We'll see. Gonna go out there, have fun and enjoy the week.

“I just think about trying to do well here and Singapore is a huge event, I want to finish strong there.”

Svitolina is also focused on the season-ending WTA Finals in the Lion City next month, having qualified for the first time.

“I’m just trying to prepare as good as I can,” she said. “Hong Kong is a good opportunity to stay in Asia and focus on my tennis.

“I’m very happy being here and enjoying Hong Kong, it’s such a beautiful city. As soon as I landed I saw many nice places.

“Hopefully, I can have some time to enjoy Hong Kong after the tournament. Definitely I will do hiking because I saw there is so many nice views.”

World number three Elina Svitolina answers the call as Sloane Stephens joins Hong Kong Tennis Open withdrawals


Centre court

From 3:00 pm

Zhang Ling (Hong Kong) vs [4] Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

Risa Ozaki (Japan) vs [2] Venus Williams (US)

Not Before 7:00 pm

[1] Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) vs Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan)

[3] Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) vs Eugenie Bouchard (Canada)

Court one

From 3:00 pm

Miyu Kato (Japan) vs [7] Daria Gavrilova (Australia)

[5] Elena Vesnina (Russia) vs Luksika Kumkhum (Thailand)

[6] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) vs Timea Babos (Hungary)

Desirae Krawczyk (US)/Giuliana Olmos (Mexico) vs [2] Shuko Aoyama (Japan)/Yang Zhaoxuan (China)

Court two

From 3:00 pm

Naomi Osaka (Japan) vs Alexa Guarachi (Chile)

Jacqueline Cako (US) vs Priscilla Hon (Australia)

Jennifer Brady (US) vs Misa Eguchi (Japan)

[4] Eri Hozumi (Japan)/Miyu Kato (Japan) vs Kaitlyn Christian (US)/Alexa Guarachi (Chile)