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'Be nice to each other,' retiring Wozniacki tells young players

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Melbourne (AFP)

Retiring former world number one Caroline Wozniacki Monday urged the younger generation of players to "be nice to each other", saying locker-room friendships can last through life.

The Danish star, who is walking away from tennis after the Australian Open aged 29, lived to fight another day at Melbourne Park after crushing American Kristie Ahn 6-1, 6-3 in the first round.

"There's a lot of emotions, but I tried to keep them in check, and I thought I did that very well today," said Wozniacki, whose only Grand Slam triumph came in Melbourne in 2018.

"I think I'm just really trying to enjoy every moment."

Wozniacki announced her plan to retire in December to focus on other things, including starting a family with husband and former NBA star David Lee.

She said she will leave the game with lifelong friendships, not least best buddy Serena Williams, and encouraged the new women on the block to keep the locker room civil.

"I think in general my generation we had great friendships even from the juniors and we were a big group coming up and playing on the tour at the same time," she said.

"I think we have friendships that will carry on past the tennis.

"I don't know how it was before me. All I know is that Serena obviously played way before me and so did Venus, and they were both super nice to me and very open and have always been there for me.

"So I have had a great experience with them. Then I hope that the younger generation will also be nice to each other, because it's just a sport and we all try our best out here."

Naomi Osaka recently pointed to Wozniacki as a person who helped her when she was first burst on the scene and the Dane said it was important to give back to up-and-coming players.

"I don't even know what ranking Naomi was at this point, she came out of juniors, but I remember practising with her and thinking she has a great serve, she has some great shots," she said.

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