Although her final appearance at the US Open this year wasn’t quite the swansong she and the rest of the tennis world was hoping for, the legendary Kim Clijsters was still happy to walk away from the tennis court with a smile on her face.
The Belgian Grand Slam champion had made the announcement earlier in the year that her appearance at the US Open would be both her last and her last time on court; however the tennis world wasn’t quite prepared for it to be so short. Facing the UK’s Laura Robson in her second round match, Clijsters looked like she was in control during the first set but the 18-year-old, spurred on by her success at the recent London Olympics, overcame and eventually defeated the veteran 7-6 (7/4) 7-6 (7/5).
With three US Open singles titles already under her belt Clijsters was unfortunately denied the chance to make it a fourth, although she does have doubles matches to come, but after much consideration she is happy with her performance and her career – “I think the first hour after the match there was still disappointment and a little bit of frustration…But obviously now, after talking and thinking about the retirement in singles, I’m happy.”
Having already retired once earlier on in her career, Clijsters became one of tennis’ biggest success stories thanks to her astonishing wins upon re-entry into the sport. She was the winner of the title in her last three appearances at Flushing Meadows – in 2005, 2009 and 2010 – and she leaves behind a career legacy that is on par with the greats like her heroines Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.
Describing her “incredible journey” to reporters following her last ever singles match, the Belgian spoke of how phenomenal it has been for her to “have been a part of women’s tennis and on top of women’s tennis for so many years”. And although she is finally calling it time at the age of 29, Clijsters still remains one of the most influential female presences in the sport continuing to inspire young stars like Robson to better their game.