Former world #1 and 2-time WTA Player of the Year Kim Clijsters started 2011 where she left off in 2010. After ending 2010 by winning both the US Open and Tour Championship, propelling her to 2010 WTA Player of the Year, she opened 2011 by winning the Australian Open. Soon after she regained the #1 ranking. For a moment, Kim was back on top of the tennis world. It would all be downhill from there. She lost a final in France to Petra Kvitova right after regaining #1, lost the #1 ranking to Caroline Wozniacki the following week and then was hit by injury after injury for the rest of 2011, slipping all the way to #13.
Entering 2012, Kim showed great promise in an exhibition against Caroline Wozniacki a few weeks ago. If Kim can stay healthy, she could join Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova as threats to be Player of the Year. But Kim is taking it one day at a time. She’s no longer thinking far ahead to the 2012 London Olympics or talking of retirement. She spoke to the press at the Brisbane International, getting ready to play the 2012 season opening tournament starting January 1st.
“At the moment, I’m not even thinking about the Olympics. I don’t think like that. In tennis, the season is long and it’s tough and I just try to focus on one week at a time and my next focus is Brisbane and that’s what I’m training for. That’s why I came here (before Christmas) to be ready to try and be the best Kim I can when I play my first match here. One day at a time. The motivation is there. Because of the injuries maybe last year it was a little down and it was frustrating.” -Kim Clijsters
Kimmie is my favorite player, so I am obviously hoping she is fully healthy and playing to a high level, particularly if 2012 turns out to be her final season. If healthy, she is always a threat on hardcourts. We will see how she looks at Brisbane. With Serena, US Open champion Samantha Stosur, Andrea Petkovic and Francesca Schiavone at Brisbane, among others, if Kim wins or makes the final, and looks good, she will be among the favorites at the Australian Open.