Kim Clijsters bids farewell
Beeyong Sison - 08/30/2012: Leaving the tennis court for the last time as a competitor, Kim Clijsters bade farewell to adoring followers at the Arthur Ashe stadium. No tears - instead waving, wearing a grateful smile for the memories of triumphs and great matches she played in front of the New York tennis crowd.
Kim Clijsters’ second career comeback came to an abrupt end as she was stunned by Great Britain’s Laura Robson 76 (4) 76 (5) in the second round of the US Open. In a thrilling match, the heavy hitting 18-year old Brit copped her first major win of her nascent career. Ranked no.89, Robson’s win was the first time she triumphed over a highly-ranked player in Clijsters who is ranked no.25. For the three-time US Open Champion, it was a heart-breaking loss to end a brilliant career. It snapped the Belgian’s 22-match win streak.
"It's the place that has inspired me so much to do well and to do great things. It's hard to explain sometimes why," Clijsters said during a post-match on-court interview. "This completely feels like the perfect place to retire. I just wish it wasn't today," Clijsters continued amid the standing ovation from spectators.
Clijsters won 41 WTA Tour singles titles and 11 WTA Tour doubles titles. Her four Grand Slam singles titles including three US Open, in 2005, 2009, 2010, and one at the 2011 Australian Open. She was runner-up in four Grand Slam singles, and won the WTA Tour Championships singles title in 2002, 2003, and 2010. In doubles, she won the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003.
The 29 year-old Clijsters announced her first retirement on May 6, 2007, but just two years later on March 26, 2009, she returned to the WTA tour for the 2009 summer hard court season. After only three tournaments, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first unseeded and wildcard entry to win the event, as well as the first mother to win a major tournament since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.
The Bree-born Clijsters first entered the professional tour in 1997 but quickly gained credence reaching the Round of 16s at Wimbledon in her first appearance at the All England Club in 1999. In 2001, she advanced to her first final at a major at Roland Garros becoming the first Belgian to reach a Grand slam final
By getting to the French Open championship round, she became the first Belgian ever to reach a Grand Slam final, while later achieving the No. 1 ranking as the first from her country in 2003.
She would go on to make three more major finals at the French Open and the US Open in 2003, and the Australian Open in 2004 before injury set in, causing her to miss the next four majors. She came back in good form, however, winning the 2005 US Open before ending her career for the first time in May 2007.
After the match, Robson paid tribute to Clijsters by calling her a role model for being one of the nicest players on tour and an inspiration to the next generation of players. Kim will be sadly missed on the tour…but happy for her, for having always shown her best during her wonderful career in tennis.