After three year out of the sport of professional tennis and giving birth to two children, Caroline Wozniacki returned to the U.S. Open and defeated eleventh-seeded Petra Kvitova. It was a brilliant match, wisdom versus power, the former winning out in long, turbulent ralleys in the late August humidity of Queens, New York. Odds given on ESPN before the match, gave Wozniacki a less than 20% chance of victory.
But this is the U.S. Open, where women have now been paid equally as their male counterparts longer than any other major - 50 years now. The energy on court in New York is unlike any other. Unruly, loud, irreverent, but alive in a way that makes dreams reality. For Wozniacki, who had been in the booth as a commentator and fought a chronic battle with arthritis, it was an unlikely dream. Her opponent had more power, more recent experience, had a rhythm hard to emulate in practice. But Wozniacki took the first set and kept the pedal down in the second. After dropping two match points, it seemed, the momentum may be swinging against her - the picture she stayed up at night painting of returning to Arthur Ashe fading away back into a dim, elusive fantasy. Then she striped a couple of winners and it was over.
Such is the power of the age we live in. A mother of three, at 57, recently became the second woman to ever run 300 miles in three days. She did it in one of the toughest race formats in the world. At 50, Queen's porter Memo Morales consistently places in the top tier of athletes half his age in New York road races. It certainly seems, whether you believe 50 is the new 30, that the idea of aging is changing - for the better - that we are not what we thought we would be at a certain age; that proves to be the lie: that we have to be what came before.
Wozniacki isn't listening to those age-old tropes. We shouldn't either.