Wimbledon and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London were the reasons Kim Clijsters stuck it out the last year and a half despite a laundry list of injuries. She owns 41 tournament titles in singles, 11 in doubles. She has 4 Majors, including 3 US Opens in singles, 2 more in doubles. She’s been ranked #1 in both singles and doubles simultaneously. She’s been WTA Player of the Year. Twice. She’s on her way to the International Tennis Hall of Fame one day. She could have walked away last year when her body kept betraying her. But the chance to take one more shot at winning Wimbledon and a Gold Medal at the Olympics for Belgium kept her going. She played well at Wimbledon but ran into a red-hot Angelique Kerber playing out of her mind that day. Now Kim will have one missing jewel to try to put in her crown, an Olympic medal, preferably Gold.
It’s going to be tough. The Olympic tennis tournament is being held on the same courts as Wimbledon, a tournament Kim has never won in singles. In fact, it’s the only Major Kim hasn’t at least reached the final in singles. And there are 3 Wimbledon champions in the draw who will be tough to deal with; Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova. Venus Williams is a five-time champion like her sister Serena, but Venus has not looked good lately. I am pulling for Kim, but I can’t in all honesty call her a favorite. She’s surprised me before, particularly when she won the 2009 US Open in her 2nd tournament back from her first retirement and having a baby. But an Olympic Gold medal would top even that comeback. I’d love to see it happen.
“She has had a terrific career. What she has done, I don’t think there’s anyone else who could have possibly done the same thing – having a baby, coming back and winning Grand Slams, even more than she did before. And she also has a great personality – Kim is terrific for our sport. It’s sad she’s retiring.” – World #1 Victoria Azarenka on Kim Clijsters
By the way, the picture above is from the ITF’s Olympic book Aspire, Inspire: Celebrating Tennis At The Olympics 2012. The pictures show tennis stars now and when they were kids. Here are a few more: