Global tennis star Caroline Wozniacki is hoping she can spread awareness for her newly-diagnosed disease when she kicks off her new sesaon at the ASB Classic in Auckland next month.
The former World No 1 arrived in New Zealand today ahead of her first match on Tuesday evening, two months after announcing she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis - an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, pain and swelling in the joints.
Wozniacki said today she hopes her celebrity status can help raise awareness of the disease, which affects 25 million people globally.
"You have a big platform when you do what I do and I think there are so many ways you can do that (raise awareness).
"We're figuring that out, first of all just saying I have rheumatoid arthritis already helps a lot of people.
"A lot of people have reached out to me, to tell me that they have the same or someone in their family does. There are more people who have it than you think."
She added she's had to make some lifestyle adjustments.
"Every day is a new day and you feel how you feel.
"But I feel pretty good about it and it's about figuring out what little things work for me work and what makes me feel good. You learn along the way."
Wozniacki got to spend time with family for the festive season but is now focused on trying to win the ASB Classic for the first time in her sixth attempt, having lost the 2015 and 2018 finals.
"I love coming back here," she said.
"It gives me a great start to the season and I hope I can start off well here.
"I had a great season last year and I've been playing well in the last few years, so I feel good.
"The main thing is the body holds up and then hopefully I'll have a great year this year."