Former world number one tennis player Kim Clijsters officially announced on Tuesday that this year’s US Open will be the final tournament she’ll play before her retirement.
Constantly struggling with injuries along her career, Kim Clijsters had to opt out of this clay season. She needed to recover after a recent hip injury, which took longer than expected. Gutted she can’t prove herself on clay for one last time, the Belgian said, in a news conference on Tuesday, she will retire after the US Open, the place where she had her “greatest triumphs.”
Meanwhile, she is fully focused on the grass courts and is expected to partake in the Rosmalen tournament between June 17 and June 23 in preparation for Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.
Clijsters retired initially in 2007, with already a Grand Slam title under her belt, winning her first US Open in 2005. After a two-year hiatus and becoming the mother of a baby girl, she made a sensational comeback in 2009, inspired by an exhibition event under the new roof of Wimbledon's Centre Court in May 2009 alongside Tim Henman, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi.
What followed next was winning two more US Open crowns in 2009 and 2010. Clijsters topped these victories with another one at the Australian Open in 2011, the same year when she dethroned Caroline Wozniacki and took over the WTA top spot for the first time since 2006.
But 2011 proved again to be difficult in overcoming injuries. An ankle injury made her miss most of the clay season before the French Open. She later suffered another one at the UNICEF Open which forced her to miss Wimbledon. Another subsequent set of injuries made Clijsters decide to withdraw and start a full recovery for 2012, the Olympics year.
Deadspin.com makes a brief yet sharp analysis of what Clijsters’ retirement would mean for the women’s game. Dominated now by “grunters” and number 1 players who never won a Grand Slam title, the women’s tennis world lacks a good mix in the game. Speaking of Justine Henin as a player “who could mix her game up even if she was not playing well,” Clijsters said: “I haven't seen a lot of girls change their game up a little bit." Her incredible forehand and her mind-blowing signature splits will be missed, as well as her no-nonsense anti-diva behaviour both on and off-court.
Clijsters, who turns 29 next month, is now number 44 in the world. She has won 41 singles and 11 doubles titles and is the first Belgian to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open Era.