With the Australian Open recently crowning a new champion in Li Na, I can’t help but think back to the player who defeated Li Na three years ago in the final, Kim Clijsters. As an all-time favorite of mine, Kim is second only to Monica Seles. I loved her game on court, her power, speed and flexibility. That game carried Clijsters to #1 in singles and doubles. She is a 41-time winner, including 4 Majors, in singles. She also has 11 doubles victories, including 2 Majors. Her awards are numerous as well; 2-time Player of the Year, 2-time Comeback Player of the Year, 3-time Player Service Award, 8-time winner of the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, 1999 Newcomer of the Year and 2006 Humanitarian of the Year. Having only been retired since the end of the US Open in 2012, she hasn’t yet been away long enough to be voted into the Hall of Fame. When she is eligible, she’s a lock for Newport.
At the 2013 Kim Clijsters Invitational, an off-season exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium last December, Ana Ivanovic sat down with Kim to talk to one another about life on and off the tennis court. The two former #1s share a friendship as well as perspectives about the game and what is important beyond the court. It’s always a joy to hear from Kim, even in retirement. She now is a mother of two, a daughter (Jada) and son (Jack). Jada will be 6 on February 24th, while Jack is new to the world, born just a few months ago on September 18, 2013.