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Anyone following the Twitter feeds of Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy lately? This is how you do relationships in 2011.
On Monday, @CaroWozniacki tweeted a photo of herself signing autographs in Cincinnati, where the tennis world has gathered this week for the Western & Southern Open. Apparently in the background is McIlroy, fresh off a disappointing 64th-place finish in the PGA Championship on Sunday. He was signing autographs as well.
"I guess I'm not the only popular one at a tennis tournament lol @McIlroyRory," Wozniacki tweeted.
Wozniacki and McIlroy have been Twittering back and forth for a while, almost since the two were spotted together in July. The photographs of them are all over the Internet as well. And it was no secret that McIlroy was going to be in Cincinnati at the same time as Wozniacki -- he told reporters in his post-tournament news conference at the Atlanta Athletic Club on Sunday that he was headed there this week.
"I hear it's nice this time of year," McIlroy joked.
Wozniacki and McIlroy don't seem to mind letting the world in on their secret. Maybe it's because Wozniacki, 21, currently the No. 1-ranked player in the WTA, and McIlroy, 22, the U.S. Open champion this year and heir apparent to Tiger Woods, are too young to know better. They're happy to let their followers in on their fun. That's about 172,500 for @CaroWozniacki and 601,000 for @McIlroyRory so far.
Interestingly, as they tweet back and forth in full view, another tennis player with a major Twitter following is taking the opposite approach. After winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday, Serena Williams was asked in the post-tournament news conference about rumors of a budding relationship with rapper Drake.
She shut it down immediately.
"Oh, man, really," said Williams, who hasn't tweeted about Drake to her 2.1 million followers -- at least not regularly. "So much speculation. It's unbelievable. Shocking, really. It's too much. It's really too much. We're really good friends. I guess, you know, you can't be too close of a friend nowadays."
So what's the difference between Williams and Wozniacki? About nine years. Williams will turn 30 in September.
There you have it: the dividing line between young and old in the world these days.
This week in Serenation
You can tell Williams is beginning to hear the clock ticking on her career. She's starting to joke about her age.
"Am I really 26 now?" she said Sunday after winning the Rogers Cup, when asked about the 10-year spread between tournament titles in Canada. "Like, wow. It's crazy."
But for those who wondered if the last year had taken too much of a toll, as she battled through two foot surgeries and came back from a pulmonary embolism just as she approaches senior citizenship in tennis, she has shown in the past few weeks that she is still the best player in women's tennis.
Oddsmakers apparently agree. After winning the Rogers Cup, two weeks after her tournament title in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, Calif., on July 31, Williams is now the 3-2 favorite of at least one betting site going into the U.S. Open.
Williams isn't ready to declare herself as the player to beat in Flushing Meadows, though.
"I consider myself a favorite to just do what I can do best, and hopefully, if that's winning the Open, I mean, obviously I want to," she said in Toronto. "I never go in as a favorite. I feel like I'm still the underdog.
"I still, you know, I went through a lot of things physically and mentally and emotionally and, you know, going through so much, so I'm just taking it one day at a time and kind of like one match at a time and just going with it."
For those counting, Serena Williams has jumped from No. 175 in the WTA rankings in mid-July to No. 31 this week. ... Here's guessing that a pair of two-time U.S. Open champions will not walk away winners this year. Kim Clijsters, the two-time defending champ, has played almost no competitive tennis since June because of an ankle injury and abdominal muscle tear. Venus Williams has pulled out of two tournaments, including Cincinnati this weekend, because of a viral illness. There is some speculation that she could seek a wild-card entry at New Haven next week. She has not played since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon.