Having already announced that a second retirement would be on the cards after the US Open this year, former women’s world number 1 Kim Clijsters has revealed that the 2012 Wimbledon Championships would be her last.
Aged just 29 years old and one of the most athletic and powerful women’s tennis players of the open era, Clijsters believes that her age is one of the main factors behind her decision to retire. When asked by reporters why this Wimbledon appearance, only her second in six years, would be her last Clijsters’ replied “(I’m) Too old. Too old to play the game that I want to play physically. I’ve put my body through enough strain and everything… But I’m not going to be the type of player that’s going to change the way I play or the way that I move.”
Clijsters is one of only three mothers to win a Grand Slam title (she currently has 4 to her name – 3 at the US Open and 1 at the Australian Open) and although her strength and athleticism have served her well on court her hard playing style has taken quite a toll on her. She had to pull out of a warm-up event in the Netherlands last week because of a flare up of an old abdominal injury, and before that she was out of action for nearly three months due to hip and ankle problems.
Now ranked at 47th in the world and unseeded for the grass court Slam, Clijsters was due to face another former world number 1 – Jelena Jankovic – today in the opening rounds. The two have met a total of 8 times before, although Clijsters has the edge with a 7-1 outcome from these previous meetings, and even though this match may be the last time that Clijsters plays on the grass courts at the All England Tennis Club she is looking forward to the experience – “I love the atmosphere that hangs around the courts here …You don’t feel that vibe in any other Grand Slam. I think that’s what makes this so unique”.