When it comes to likable players, Kim Clijsters takes the cake
On its Web
site, the WTA Tour is inviting those who tap into it to identify what they regard as Kim Clijsters' ranking accomplishment.
- 2005 U.S.
- WTA Tour
- 2005 comeback.
"None of the above." My "X" would go into a box for "Greatest person." Clijsters had a quality that Louie Kelcher had when
he was playing for the Chargers. She was lovable. Tennis, as confrontational as it is, tends to make those who engage in it
at its highest level snippy, shall we say, but through her career, which was too short, Clijsters was never anything but gracious.
I am thinking
of one time a year or two ago when the Belgian woman was competing in an event at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.,
and in the press room they had a cake for her. She had arrived at a milestone in her career, precisely what it was I don't
recall. She had many of them. She cut the cake and shared it with those in the room, after which I had to excuse myself, probably
to look in on a match.
minutes later, I returned. Standing outside the press room, passing out slices of the cake to persons from the crowd, was
Clijsters. How nice. How like her. May she go happily into her new life away from a game that was enriched for having her
people won't be too sad now that I've decided to stop playing tennis," she said of her decision to step away from tennis at
the age of 23. "A new chapter in my life is about to begin and I hope I'll be seeing everyone somewhere down the line. Remember,
whatever you do, do it with a smile on your face."
Clijsters, I gained the feeling that she could have been a champion in just about any sport. She had extremely strong legs,
which were at the source of the success she had. She could go wide for a shot, very wide, wider than any of her peers, doing
the splits to make a return, and her legs would propel her back into position to continue the point.
she was too athletic. How she played taxed her. Injuries, to her shoulder, to her wrist, to her hip, made beginning her days
a trial for her and she decided that she had had enough of competing.
that wouldn't go away and life after tennis drawing nearer, it became harder to push myself," she admitted.
is not going to be remembered as one of the greatest of the women tourists, nor should she be. She played in 21 Grand Slam
events before she won one, the U.S. Open in 2005. She would not win another. She never was as much as a finalist at Wimbledon.
But she was a champion in so many ways.
Clijsters and without Lindsay Davenport, another player of the highest personal qualities, one has to look hard, it seems
here, to find someone in women's tennis to like. Justine Henin, the current No. 1, does nothing to endear herself to the tennis
community, refusing to adorn herself in any way and competing so fiercely that her zest for battle at times can be interpreted
has a queenly presence about her that can be off-putting. Amelie Mauresmo in her dealings with the media comes across as the
most genuine of persons, but her on-the-court demeanor is too businesslike and devoid of emotions for her to touch audiences.
The Williams sisters are greatly gifted, but it is difficult to develop an attachment to players who absent themselves from
tennis in the degree they do.
One player I enjoy is the chatty Svetlana Kuznetsova. A real person, to my mind. Just like Kim Clijsters.
Lleyton: Clijsters knows best
LLEYTON Hewitt yesterday sympathised with the early end to the tennis career of former fiancee,
24-year-old Belgian Kim Clijsters.
Hewitt said the soon-to-be-married Clijsters knew how to make up her own mind.
"She knows her body best. Very rarely do you walk on the court feeling 100 per cent. But she's had
a great career," Hewitt said.
"I know how many injuries she's had over her whole career. She's had to play through some tough times."
Former world No. 1 Hewitt has also struggled with injuries in recent seasons.
Clijsters announced on her website on Sunday night that she had retired, effective immediately.
She said recurrent injuries, along with preparations for her wedding in July, had made it harder to
"Kim's so well liked around the world and she's played well in so many tournaments around the world
that it would have been nice for her to compete for the rest of the year," Hewitt said. - DPA
Kim Calls It A Career
ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – One of the most popular players to have ever
graced the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Kim Clijsters, announced her retirement on Sunday, May 6, effective immediately. Clijsters'
last match was a 76(3) 63 loss to the Ukraine's Julia Vakulenko in the opening round of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Poland on
May 3, 2007.
"I'm extremely proud of what I've achieved in my career," Clijsters said in a message to her
fans. "If someone told me nine years ago I would have accomplished all that I did, I would have said you were joking. Tennis
has been an amazing journey for me all over the world and I'm very happy to have met the people I did. That's always been
the most important to me; forget the trophies and material things, friends are truly the most important. I couldn't have done
all I did without the support of my family and coaches who worked with me, and to them I'm truly grateful. I am also thankful
to all the encouragement from the fans over the years and the media's support in following my career.
"I couldn't have asked for a better farewell than I got in Antwerp; trying to play after that
was proving more difficult. With injuries that wouldn't go away and life after tennis drawing nearer, it became harder
to push myself to compete.
"Tennis-wise, winning the US Open and season-ending Championships twice were obvious high
points. The matches that I'll never forget were the 1999 US Open match with Serena, when I was 5-3 up in the third. I had
such goose bumps it was incredible. I remember playing Amélie in Filderstadt one year, coming from match point down to win,
but the tennis we both played that day was amazing.
"I hope people won't be too sad now that I've decided to stop playing tennis. A new chapter
in my life is about to begin and I hope I'll see everyone somewhere down the line. Remember, whatever you do, do it with a
smile on your face."
"Kim Clijsters will be remembered as one of the most accomplished and loved players in the
history of women's professional tennis," said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Larry Scott. "No player has been so unanimously popular
with fans and fellow players alike. She has been a once-in-a-generation champion. Kim's contribution to popularizing the sport
in her native Belgium, as well as globally, is well-known. Athletic and determined on court, Kim has also been a wonderful
ambassador for the sport off it and she will be much missed by her legions of fans, fellow players and everyone connected
with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour."
Long-time compatriot and rival, world No.1 Justine Henin said, "I have a lot of respect for
what she did in her career, as a player and as a person. We've almost grown up together and I think we've helped each other
to reach another level because we always pushed each other to play better. I think it's been a good concurrence for us. She's
been a great player and it's time for her now to turn the page and do something else in her life and everyone has to respect
that. She did a lot for the game, for Belgian tennis for sure, and I think I will have great memories of her that I will keep.
It's pretty emotional because we spent a lot of time together when we were younger and we grew up together on the Sony Ericsson
WTA Tour. It's a very special day today."
Close friend Amélie Mauresmo said, "I think she had been thinking about retiring for a while
so I'm sure she is really convinced that it's the right decision for her. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and all the players are
going to miss her a lot, not only because of the player she was, but the joy she brought everywhere. I wish her the very best
in her new life. Personally I always enjoyed our rivalry because it brought the best out in both of us."
Serena Williams reflected, "I wish Kim the best in her life after tennis. She was a great player,
a great competitor and an even better person. We had some great matches but I'll miss her more in the locker room than anything
Click here to send your own personal tribute message to Kim.
Clijsters ends her tennis career
Former world number one Kim Clijsters has
announced her retirement from tennis with immediate effect.
The Belgian, 23, was going to retire at the end of 2007 but brought it forward, saying "the fire had
Clijsters won the US Open in 2005, was runner-up twice at the French Open and once at the Australian
Open and also reached two Wimbledon semi-finals.
"It has been more than beautiful but now the rackets will be hung up," Clijsters told her web diary.
The world number four first announced her plan to retire at the end of this season back in 2005, with
a series of chronic injuries prompting the decision.
She has been winding down ever since, with her impending marriage to American basketball player Brian
Lynch in July the focus.
||Money is important, but not the most important thing in my life |
Clearly the grind of the 10-month tour has taken its toll.
"Time to marry," she told her website. "Time for children? Time for cooking and playing with my dogs.
And particularly a lot of time with my friends and family.
"No more travelling. No more stepping in and out of planes. No more having to read gossip or lies in
Clijsters' last title came in Sydney in January but she crashed out in the second round of the J&S
Cup in Warsaw earlier this week with a straight-sets defeat by qualifier Julia Vakulenko.
She had planned to play at Eastbourne, Wimbledon and tournaments in Luxembourg and Stuttgart in late
September and early October.
But the emotional reception she received from her home crowd after losing to Amelie Mauresmo in the
Antwerp final in February proved a suitable send-off.
"After the fantastic and moving farewell in Antwerp all good things must come to an end," she said.
"The constantly returning injuries, the laborious crawling out of bed in the morning and the time it
takes to warm up tired muscles make it all the more difficult to continue."
Clijsters revealed earlier this season she would be playing less as her career wound down, and had
announced she would not play at this year's French and US Opens.
She added: "I would have been able to continue for a few months and to take part in the four most lucrative
tournaments (three Grand Slams and the Masters).
"Money is important, but not the most important thing in my life. Health and private happiness are
so much more important."
Her Belgian rival Justine Henin said she had "a lot of respect" for Clijsters' achievements in her
"We've almost grown up together and I think we've helped each other to reach another level because
we've pushed each other always to play better," said the world number one.
"She did a lot for the game, for Belgian tennis for sure, and I think I will have great memories of