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Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters 2006.jpg
Country Belgium
Residence Bree, Belgium
Date of birth 8 June 1983 (1983-06-08) (age 26)
Place of birth Bilzen, Belgium
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8+12 in)
Weight 68 kg (150 lb; 10.7 st)
Turned pro 17 August 1997
Retired 6 May 2007
Returned 11 August 2009
Plays Right; two-handed backhand
Career prize money US$16,433,856
Career record 445–107 (80.6%)
Career titles 36 WTA (tied-13th in overall rankings)
Highest ranking No. 1 (11 August 2003)
Current ranking No. 17 (1 February 2010)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open F (2004)
French Open F (2001, 2003)
Wimbledon SF (2003, 2006)
US Open W (2005, 2009)
Major tournaments
WTA Championships W (2002, 2003)
Career record 129–51
Career titles 11 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking No. 1 (4 August 2003)
Australian Open QF (2003)
French Open W (2003)
Wimbledon W (2003)
US Open QF (2002)
Last updated on: September 14, 2009.

Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters (Dutch pronunciation: [kɪm ˈklɛistərs]  ( listen); born 8 June 1983) is a Belgian professional tennis player. She is a former World No. 1 ranked player in singles and in doubles. As of February 1, 2010, Clijsters is ranked World No. 17.

Clijsters has won 36 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles. She won the US Open singles title in 2005 and 2009. She has also won the WTA Tour Championships singles title in 2002 and 2003. In doubles, she's won the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003. Clijsters was twice a singles runner-up at the French Open and a one-time runner-up at the Australian Open, also reaching two Wimbledon singles semi-finals. She announced her retirement with immediate effect on 6 May 2007,[1] but almost two years later, on 26 March 2009, she publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour for the 2009 summer hard court season.[2] In only her third tournament back, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first unranked player and wildcard to win the tournament, and the first mother to win a major since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.[3]


Playing style

Clijsters is recognized for her deep, powerful, well-placed groundstrokes, as well as her court-wide defense, characterized by speed and athleticism. Clijsters, along with Jelena Janković and Svetlana Kuznetsova is among the few tennis players on either the Association of Tennis Professionals or Women's Tennis Association tours who can slide (known as the straddle) on all surfaces.[4] After being defeated by Clijsters in the 2005 Nasdaq-100 Open, Maria Sharapova implied that Clijsters' strength lies in how she always forces her opponent to hit an extra shot, that "you just have to expect that she's going to get every ball back".[5]

Personal life

Clijsters was born on 8 June 1983, in Bilzen, Limburg, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. She is daughter of Lei Clijsters, a former successful soccer player, and Els Vandecaetsbeek, a former national gymnastics champion. Lei Clijsters died of lung cancer on 4 January 2009.[6] Clijsters says that she inherited footballer's legs from her father and a gymnast's flexibility from her mother.[7] Kim's younger sister Elke finished 2002 as the ITF World Junior Doubles champion and retired in 2004 after back injuries.

In December 2003, Clijsters announced her engagement to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, but their relationship ended in October 2004.[8] In October 2006, Clijsters announced her engagement to American basketball player Brian Lynch, who is based in Kim's hometown of Bree. In an interview with Sportweekend, Clijsters stated that she was retiring to start a family.[1] Clijsters and Lynch married secretly on 13 July 2007, at 6:00 in the morning at the Bree city hall. She was married by the mayor, with sister Elke, Lynch's brother Pat Lynch, and both sets of parents present.[9]

Clijsters gave birth to a daughter on 27 February 2008, at 1:35 pm at the Vesalius hospital in Tongeren, Belgium. The girl, Jada Ellie, weighed 3.035 kg and measured 51 cm.[10] Clijsters's mother had a son named Zeth with second husband Jan Goossens a few weeks after Jada Ellie was born.

Tennis career

Junior career

Clijsters was an accomplished junior player. In singles, she finished as runner-up in the 1998 Wimbledon junior event, placing 11th in the year-end singles ranking. In the same year in doubles, Clijsters won the French Open title with Jelena Dokić, and the US Open with Eva Dyrberg, ending the season as number four in the International Tennis Federation junior doubles world ranking.


In 1999, Clijsters made her breakthrough professionally. Playing through the qualifying rounds, she made it through the main draw of Wimbledon, wherein she defeated tenth ranked Amanda Coetzer en route to the fourth round, where Clijsters lost to her childhood idol[11] Steffi Graf. Later that summer, Clijsters reached the third round of the US Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams after serving for the match. In the autumn, Clijsters won her first Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles title at Luxembourg. She followed up with her first WTA doubles title at Bratislava, partnering Laurence Courtois.


Clijsters climbed up the rankings over the next couple of years. In 2001, she reached her first Tier I final at the tournament in Indian Wells, California, losing to Serena Williams in a match overshadowed by controversy. Clijsters also reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati 12–10 in the third set. This two-hour, 21-minute match featured the longest third set in a French Open women's final. Clijsters was four times within two points of winning before Capriati prevailed. Her next important breakthrough came at the end of 2002, when she won the year-end Home Depot Championships in Los Angeles, defeating top ranked Serena Williams in the final. This was only the fifth defeat of the year for Williams and snapped her 18-match winning streak. On her way to the final, Clijsters defeated fourth ranked Justine Henin and second ranked Venus Williams, becoming just the fourth player to beat both of the Williams sisters in the same event. She also equaled the event's record for the fewest games dropped.


Clijsters won nine singles tournaments and seven doubles titles in 2003, including the WTA Tour Championships and two Tier I singles tournaments. She also reached two Grand Slam singles finals, losing at both the French Open and the US Open to Henin. At the Australian Open, Clijsters lost in the semi-final to Serena Williams 4–6, 6–3, 7–5 after Clijsters led 5–1 in the third set and held a match point at 5–2. She also lost in the semi-final at Wimbledon. Her Tier I singles titles were at the Telecom Italia Masters in Rome, where she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final,[12] and at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, where she defeated Lindsay Davenport in the final. On 11 August 2003, Clijsters attained the World No. 1 ranking, holding the spot for 12 non-consecutive weeks during the remainder of the year, and was the first player to be top ranked by the WTA without first winning a Grand Slam singles title. The World No. 1 ranking was at stake in October during the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany. Clijsters rallied from a set down to beat Henin. The match marked only the eighth time that the top two players battled for the top ranking.[13] Even though Clijsters won that match, she finished the year ranked World No. 2, just behind Henin.


Clijsters started 2004 by reaching her fourth career Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, where she lost once more to Henin. She then won two consecutive titles in Paris and Antwerp. While defending her Tier I title at the Pacific Life Open, however, Clijsters began to have problems with her wrist, eventually requiring surgery and forcing her to withdraw from most tournaments. She attempted a comeback towards the end of the year, winning several matches, before reaggravating the injury.


In February, after almost a year of inactivity caused by injuries, she made her return to the Women's Tennis Association tour by participating in her home country tournament at Antwerp, losing to Venus Williams in a quarter-final. She then completed her comeback in March and April when she won, as an unseeded player, 14 straight matches to claim two Tier I titles and regained a top-20 ranking. At the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Clijsters was ranked World No. 133 but defeated World No. 5 Elena Dementieva in the semi-final and World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport in the final. Immediately after that win, Clijsters defeated four top-6 players in straight sets to win the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. Clijsters joined Steffi Graf as the only women to win the Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double. After losing to Clijsters in the Key Biscayne final, Maria Sharapova said, "I think the biggest surprise was that it was her 14th match and yet I didn’t feel like she was physically fatigued at all. She is a very strong girl and she can play all day. Running from corner to corner is like a piece of cake for her."[14]

Clijsters finally won a Grand Slam singles title at the US Open. It was her first victory after reaching four Grand Slam finals previously. Clijsters defeated tenth-seeded Venus Williams in the quarter-finals 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, winning 11 of the last 13 games after Williams had led 6–4, 4–2. Clijsters also needed three sets to defeat top-seeded Sharapova in the semi-final but needed only two sets to defeat Mary Pierce in the final. By winning the US Open Series—a string of summer tournaments in North America before the US Open itself—Clijsters received a 100 percent bonus to the US$1.1 million in prize money she received for winning the US Open. Her US$2.2 million paycheck was the largest payday in women's sports history.

On 15 September, within days after her US Open victory, it was announced that the cooperation between Clijsters and her coach, Marc Dehous, would come to an end; it was rumored that this was due to her not granting Dehous a bonus following her victory.

At the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, Clijsters was eliminated after only two matches. She lost her first match to Pierce 6–1, 4–6, 7–6 and her second match to Amélie Mauresmo 6–3, 7–6. Clijsters said in interviews that her defeats were due to fatigue and maybe jet lag, having had a relatively short time to adjust and acclimatize before the tournament began. Although she won her third match in the round-robin tournament against Dementieva, it was considered a dead rubber.

Overall, she won nine singles events in 2005, her last one being at the Gaz de France Stars in Hasselt. She ended the year ranked World No. 2.


Clijsters started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title she defeated Jie Zheng, Elena Dementieva, and top ranked Lindsay Davenport. Clijsters then withdrew from her semi-final match at the WTA tournament in Sydney, citing a left hip muscle strain.

At the Australian Open, Clijsters defeated former champion Martina Hingis in the quarter-finals 6–3, 2–6, 6–4 before retiring from her semi-final match with Amélie Mauresmo. Despite the loss, the ranking points she accumulated were enough to regain the World No. 1 ranking, a position she last held on 9 November 2003. She was the first tennis player, male or female, to rise from outside the Top 100 (World No. 134) to World No. 1 in less than a year. Clijsters' loss to Mauresmo in the Australian Open semi-final was due to an ankle injury. Although she had been expected to miss at least eight weeks to recover, Clijsters returned two weeks later at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp. She lost the final of that tournament to Mauresmo in three sets.

Clijsters won her first title of the year at a clay court event in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. At the French Open in May, Clijsters reached the semi-final without losing a set, defeating Hingis in the quarter-finals 7–6, 6–1. However, she lost to Justine Henin in the semi-final 6–3, 6–2 on her 23rd birthday. She was seeded second going into Wimbledon but was again eliminated in the semi-final by Henin.

Clijsters at 2006 Wimbledon

Clijsters collected her second title of the year as the top seed in Stanford, defeating Patty Schnyder in the final. Clijsters then reached the final in San Diego, falling to second-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets. This was her first loss to Sharapova in five career meetings.

On 16 August, after receiving a first round bye at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal, Clijsters faced Canadian Stéphanie Dubois in the second round. Having won the first set 6–1 and trailing 2–3 in the second set, Clijsters slipped and fell on her left wrist and was forced to retire from the match. On 18 August 2006, Clijsters announced on her official website that the condition of her wrist was worse than she had expected and that she would be unable to defend her title at the US Open. She also missed the Fed Cup final against Italy, which Italy won 3–2.[15]

Playing in Paris at the Gaz de France Stars tournament, her first event in more than two months, Clijsters successfully defended her title by beating qualifier Kaia Kanepi in the final. At the year-ending WTA Tour Championships, Clijsters lost a semi-final to Mauresmo 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 after defeating Dementieva and Kuznetsova and losing to Sharapova in the round robin phase of the tournament.


Clijsters started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. On her way to the title, she defeated Jie Zheng, Patty Schnyder, and top ranked Maria Sharapova. Clijsters then won the Medibank International in Sydney, Australia, defeating Jelena Janković in the final after being down a match point.

At the Australian Open, the fourth seeded Clijsters defeated sixth seed Martina Hingis in a quarter-final match before losing to Sharapova in the semi-finals 6–4, 6–2. This was the fourth consecutive time that Clijsters had lost in a Grand Slam semi-final.

Clijsters next played in Belgium at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, where she lost to Amélie Mauresmo in the final. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Clijsters lost in the fourth round to Li Na 4–6, 6–4, 6–2. In May, she failed to defend her title in Warsaw, losing in the second round to Julia Vakulenko 7–6(3), 6–3. This was Clijsters's last professional match until 2009.


In May, Clijsters failed to defend her title in Warsaw, losing in the second round to Julia Vakulenko 7–6(3), 6–3. This was Clijsters's last professional match until 2009. On 6 May 2007, citing injuries, Clijsters announced on her official website that she was retiring from professional tennis immediately.

2009: Comeback

Two years later, Clijsters, along with Tim Henman, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, played an exhibition event on Wimbledon's Centre Court in May, an event that she and Henman won 7–6 in a tiebreak. She also played a singles rubber against Graf, winning 6–4. In July, she won both of her singles matches with the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis.

She officially announced during a press conference on 26 March 2009, that wildcards for the Cincinnati and Toronto tournaments had been granted to her. Additionally, she said she would be playing in this year's US Open, after which she plans to evaluate the comeback in terms of success and the feasibility of combining it with her family life. Clijsters also stated that she preferred to think of it as a "second career" instead of a comeback, because so many factors (marriage, a baby, the recent death of her father) were different compared to her first career.[16]

Starting her second career at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati, Clijsters defeated World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the first round 6–4, 6–3.[17] In her next two matches, she defeated World No. 20 Patty Schnyder 6–2, 7–5 and World No. 6 and reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–4, 4–6, 6–2. In the quarter-finals, she lost to World No. 1 Dinara Safina 6–2, 7–5.

At her next tournament, the Rogers Cup in Toronto, she received a wildcard to play in the main draw and defeated British qualifier Elena Baltacha in the first round. In the second round, she defeated World No. 9 Victoria Azarenka 7–5, 4–6, 6–1 but lost to World No. 4 Jelena Jankovic in the third round 1–6, 6–3, 7–5, after serving for the match at 5–3.

She then received a wildcard to play in the main draw of the US Open. She easily won her first round match over Viktoriya Kutuzova 6–1, 6–1. She won her second round match, defeating World No. 14 Marion Bartoli for the second time in three weeks 5–7, 6–1, 6–2. She then defeated compatriot Kirsten Flipkens 6–0, 6–2 in the third round. She went on to upset World No. 3 Venus Williams in the fourth round 6–0, 0–6, 6–4. This was only Clijsters' 11th competitive match since coming out of retirement. Clijsters beat 18th seed Na Li in straight sets 6–2, 6–4 to reach the semi-finals where she faced defending champion and World No. 2 Serena Williams, winning 6–4, 7–5 after Williams was given a point penalty on match point after a dispute with an official over a foot fault call. Clijsters became the first unseeded finalist at the US Open since Venus Williams in 1997, and the first wildcard to ever reach the US Open final. With her victory over Serena, Clijsters became the only player to have beaten both Williams sisters in the same tournament twice. In the final she defeated ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki 7–5, 6–3 to win her second US Open title.[18] Her US Open victory placed her in the top 20 in the world rankings. She also became the first Wild Card champion in US Open history and the first mother to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980.

Clijsters then receives a wildcard to play at the 2009 BGL Luxembourg Open in Luxembourg, as the second seed. She eased through her opening match 6–2, 6–2 against Meghann Shaughnessy but fell to Patty Schnyder in a close second round encounter 4–6, 6–3, 6–7.

Playing an exhibition match in Antwerp, Belgium on 10th December, Clijsters defeated rival Venus Williams 6–1, 7–5. She finished the year ranked 18th.


Clijsters started her 2010 campaign at the Brisbane International in Australia as the top seed. Clijsters defeated Tathiana Garbin in the first round 6–2, 6–1 and Alicia Molik in the second round 6–0, 6–3. She defeated Lucie Safarova 6–1, 0–6, 6–4 to advance to the semifinals where she defeated Andrea Petkovic to set final with her former rival and compatriot Justine Henin, who was playing her first tournament after a 20-month break from tennis. Clijsters was easily leading 6–3, 4–1 only for Henin to win eight consecutive games to take the second set and lead 3–0 in the final set. Clijsters trailed 5–3 and saved two match points while down 15–40, only for her to come back and force a final set tie-break. She eventually won the match 6–3, 4–6, 7–6(6). This was Clijsters' 36th career title.

Clijsters' next tournament was the 2010 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season. In the first round, she defeated Valerie Tetreault 6–0, 6–4 in under an hour. In the second round, she defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn 6–3, 6–3. However, Clijsters was then stunned by Nadia Petrova in a 52-minute third-round match, 6–0, 6–1. This was the most lopsided defeat of Clijsters' career, eclipsing a 6–0, 6–2 defeat at the hands of Serena Williams in 2001, and ending her nine-match winning streak in a major.

At the Billie Jean King Cup, Clijsters defeated Ana Ivanovic 7-6 but fell in three sets to Venus Williams in the final. On March 10th she won her first Laureus World Sports Award, for her remarkable 2009 US OPEN Comeback.

At the 2010 BNP Paribas Open Clijsters was seeded 14th. She fell to #23 seed Alisa Kleybanova in the third round.


  • 1992–1996: Bart Van Kerckhove
  • 1996–2002: Carl Maes
  • 2002–2005: Marc Dehous
  • since 2009: Wim Fisette



  • Clijsters became the first Belgian—man or woman—to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open Era.


  • Clijsters became not only the first Belgian—man or woman—to be ranked World No. 1, but also did so without winning a Grand Slam tournament. Clijsters is one of only five women to have been ranked World No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously (the others being Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and Lindsay Davenport).[19]
  • Clijsters compiled a 90–12 singles record. Her singles win total was the highest single-season total by any woman since Navratilova in 1982.[19] Clijsters was the first woman to play more than 100 singles matches in a year since Chris Evert in 1974.[19]



  • In returning to the World No. 1 ranking after the Australian Open in January, Clijsters broke a rankings record. She was ranked as low as World No. 134 in March 2005, so her return to the top spot in a ten-month span was the fastest and biggest leap in women's tennis history.[citation needed]



Clijsters is considered by her peers as one of the most likeable players on tour.[citation needed] This, combined with her accomplishments on court, has earned her numerous citations:












Career statistics

See also


  1. ^ a b, Kim's Diary-Thanks you, 6 May 2007
  2. ^, Clijsters announces return to tour, 26 March 2009
  3. ^
  4. ^, Kim Clijsters - Game Profile
  5. ^ "Comeback Queen Clijsters Triumph". BBC Sport. 2 April 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2008. 
  6. ^, Father of Kim Clijsters Dies, 4 January 2009
  7. ^, Face to face, by The Guardian (5 October 2003)
  8. ^, Hewitt and Clijsters reveal split, BBC Sport (22 October 2004)
  9. ^ , Sports - Sports News, Scores, Rumors, Fantasy Games, and more
  10. ^, Retired tennis player Kim Clijsters gives birth to daughter
  11. ^ "WTA profile, lists Graf as most admired player in 'biography' section". 
  12. ^, Clijsters takes Italian Open
  13. ^, Clijsters wins to keep No. 1 ranking
  14. ^, 2005 NASDAQ-100 Open News
  15. ^
  16. ^, Report: Clijsters to enter WTA events, 24 March 2009
  17. ^, Clijsters makes winning start in comeback, 12 August 2009.
  18. ^ "Kim Clijsters made it look easy, but for most it's a different story". The Guardian. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  19. ^ a b c, Former World No.1 and US Open Champion Kim Clijsters announces her retirement

External links

Simple English

Kim Clijsters in 2003

Kim Clijsters is a Belgian tennis player. She used to be ranked as the World No. 1. As of 11 October 2010 she is ranked fifth in the world.[1]


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