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03 September 2012

Clijsters’ career draws to a close


Photo: Paul ZimmerKim Clijsters (BEL)

Kim Clijsters’ magnificent career came to a close on Saturday when she and mixed doubles partner Bob Bryan were beaten in the second round of the mixed doubles competition at the US Open, leaving her out of all three parts of the championships.

She made her professional debut at just 15 years of age in 1999 winning her first WTA title in the same year. She broke into the Top 5 in 2001 and stayed there for the next few years. In 2003 she won doubles titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and in 2005 she won her first singles Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Clijsters originally retired in 2007 due to injuries. She took that opportunity to start a family, getting married in the same year and having a child, Jada, in 2008. She came out of retirement in 2009 and returned to women’s tennis in style. She received a wildcard into the US Open and proceeded to win it for the second time in her career. In doing so she became the first person in history to win a Grand Slam as a wildcard and the first mother to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980.

She returned to Flushing Meadows in 2010 as the second seed and won the title for the second consecutive year and in doing so, extended her winning streak at the US Open to 21 matches, the second longest streak in history. She then went on to win the Australian Open in 2011 but, due to injury, she was unable to defend her US Open title.

Clijsters also has an incredible Fed Cup by BNP Paribas record. She has won 24 of her 28 matches, including 21 singles matches. She also led the Belgian team to their only Fed Cup title in 2001, winning the second singles match which clinched the title. She was pivotal in Belgium’s run to the final in 2006, winning both of her matches in the semifinal, but again injury meant that she could not take part in the final which Belgium lost to Italy.

To go with her Fed Cup victory, Clijsters also has 41 singles tournament victories, including her four Grand Slam titles, as well as 11 doubles titles, including victories at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. She can now look forward to spending more time with her family and can look back on a tremendous career.

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