Very eager to take part in Diamond Games
Hardly a week before the Diamond Games, bring them on! I look forward to be playing an entire match again, which has been a while, especially in a big stadium. The motivation is in place, the training sessions are going really well. Time to start and pencil in an important next step eyeing next year.
The excitement of playing against the world's number one and in front of so many spectators are the perfect circumstances for a real test. I've already tweeted with Caroline Wozniacki that she'd better be ready for this. At the Masters last year I played one my best matches ever against her, I most certainly hope this will be the case again. And watch out for the doubles later on, Elke has been preparing very thoroughly. We'll be training next week.
In the meantime I'm on track. The tough and strenuous physical training has now been replaced by several hours of tennis each day, like 1-2.30pm today. Physically I feel fine, maybe even fitter than ever before! I'll be playing my first set tomorrow, against Stefaan, my sparring partner.
Last week we had friends over from the States. I'm happy that Brian regularly sees friends coming over. We all went to Eurodisney and of course the kids were over the moon about it all! But now all focus is on tennis again!
Hopefully I'll be seeing you all in Antwerp?
On track for 2012
I am currently preparing for the Diamond Games (on 8 December 8 at the Antwerp Sportpaleis) and the new season. And things go very well so far. "We've added a lot of volume to my base training and worked on power, endurance and speed training. In the meantime I started playing tennis 3 to 4 times each week, with Carl (Maes) and my new sparring partner Stefan Wauters." We have worked hard, but with a lot of pleasure and satisfaction.
The recent injuries are doing fine too: both the right foot as the stomach muscles respond very well to the efforts. I maintain some of my recovery exercises, especially for the abdominal muscles. Teh next couple of weeks my training sessions will include ever more tennis hours. The way things progress now, I feel that I am will be ready by the time of the Diamond Games! "On 1 January 2012 my season will start at the Brisbane tournament."
In the last couple of weeks I have been home a lot. The school has started again for Jada. With of course the minor ailments and colds that come with it. Every weekend I follow Brian and the basketball team he coaches. We have seen a lot relatives and I have been trying new recipes in the kitchen. For the first time I worked closely with my dietitian aiming at optimizing my diet during the build up to training sessions: which substances and in which quantities for longer endurance training, which for shorter ones... and I feel the difference! I keep on learning all the time ;-)
See you soon,
I'm back in Belgium since yesterday (Thursday). I felt like my stomach muscle injury wasn't getting better and I wanted to hear Sam's opion. Exercises and additional tests showed the torn muscle is indeed not healing fast enough, definitely not enough to play tennis at full capacity.
Because of this I am forced to pull out of the US Open. Sam was very clear: a torn muscle that doesn't get the chance to heal can only get worse and that would entail months of inactivity. I want to avoid that at all costs! But this is definitely yet another disappointment after training really hard this summer in order to be able to defend my title in the fourth grand slam of the year.
I will also drop the rest of the season. I have to go for a full recovery now and then slowly and carefully start training again - without a specific time frame or pressure - to get ready for 2012. The two tournaments I still had to go this autumn are not worth the risk. I would not be able to get enough points to compete in the WTA Championships anyway.
But don't worry, I'll be back in full swing next year! If later this year I manage to train like I have been training these last few weeks in the US, I know that it shouldn't be a problem. I will definitely give it my all this autumn. My first test will be the Diamond Games in the Sportpaleis in Antwerp on December 8th. By the time I get to Australia in January, I want to be at my best again.
It feels strange to have to end my year this early. It had started out great when I won the Australian Open and became number one again at the tournament in Paris. But because of a few stupid injuries it never got any better than that. I am now focussing on 2012, on the Olympics. Who knows? This time I might make it through without any injuries and I might feel up for a last US Open...
My thoughts right now are with the people who have been affected by the tragedy that unfolded at Pukkelpop music festival. I had only just gotten home when I heard about what was going on there. This is so close to home and such an important icon of the Limburg province that has been affected. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a friend or family member or is caring for an injured person, or is now returning home after these traumatic events.”
Paris, me voilą!
Phew, I'm glad I can tell you some good news: I'm taking part in the French Open!
This morning I made the decision together with Wim and Sam. The past two of tennis training have been going wonderfully: the tennis is going well, the ankle is doing fine, even though it is taped, and above all I am really excited!
The first few training sessions I was afraid to put too much pressure on the ankle. I did not really dare to slide towards the ball and limited myself to lateral movements. Now I think much less about it all.
Nevertheless I sometimes still feel some pain in the ankle, depending on the movements I make. We're heading for Paris on Wednesday. I just want to get used to the courts there and increase the workload during training. With some luck, I might play my good sparring partner from the Paris indoor tournament. Being able to play the French Open is truly is my greatest satisfaction.
Last year, it really hurt to bow out of that Grand Slam. We'll see what this year brings. I start with the same attitude as in previous Grand Slams, even though I lack any sense competition right now.
Tomorrow I'll go and enjoy the most exciting football match of the year, together with my sister. We keep our fingers crossed for Jelle of course, family comes first! :-) But if Standard Liege does not make it, my Limburg heart will be happy all the same...
Oh, last week I enjoyed a very nice Mother's Day. Brian and Jada really spoiled me there. It was the first time that Jada had brought a poem and some craft work from school, that's quite special!
First tennis training
Today I held a tennis racket for what must have been about five weeks. It felt so good! But apart from that you should not think too much of such a first training session. Hitting some balls around and assessing how shoulder, wrist and ankle respond to that. It all went well, without pain or discomfort, but I did not thoroughly test the ankle yet.
What does this mean for the next few days and weeks? One day does not tell all and we have no clear idea yet. I obviously won't be playing tournaments in May, but we do aim to get ready for the French Open. Whether this succeeds, depends on many factors still: does everything respond well on those first days of training? And what happens if we up the intensity? So I can only say that we hope things keep going well and that I will have had a sufficient amount of training before the French Open. Until then, we build up slowly.
Keep your thumbs up!
Hello all. I feel relieved again. Honestly, after Indian Wells, I was not reassured yet. But since Sam has arrived in Miami, we have worked hard on my shoulder. I'm suffering from an inflammation of the back of my shoulder. With osteopathy and targeted exercise Sam takes care of my shoulder. During my first match here, I hardly had any problems with the shoulder. The injury seems to be under control, although we still have to wait and see what how it will respond to a tough match.
A tiny note on the issues concerning Asia. For the record, I have a strong empathy for the people of Japan. We organised this fundraising event here for a reason. Anything we can do to help, we do with pleasure and conviction. Should I bow out of the Tokyo tournament that is because I am concerned for the safety and health of my family. But I'll await the decision of the WTA. They monitor the situation on the ground more closely. Once there is more clarity on the issue, I can have a more accurate perspective myself.
It was great seeing Jennifer Capriati again yesterday. It had been so long ago since I last saw her and it was great catching up. Which made me realise I'm the only one of 'our generation' who is still active on the circuit ... Many of us have family and friends who joined us for the Miami tournament, so the atmosphere here is pleasant. And I hear that in Belgium Spring has arrived in abundance, which is also great. Enjoy it!
See you soon,
Ready for America
Here I am again. It has been a while. It has been a busy start of the year. I was glad to be back home from Paris and be immersed in the more simple things in life. In the meatime I resumed training and I can assure you that after a few days of doing nothing the first physical training significantly hurts!
Next week we leave for the States for the tournaments of Indian Wells and Miami. Then an important task awaits us in the Fed Cup: secured a ticket for the final. Which against the Czechs won't be easy. It is the first time since long that we're not the clear favourite beforehand, I estimate our chances to about 50/50. Remember that both Yanina and myself lost against Kvitova in Paris. And one should not underestimate Safarova.
It is great to be playing in the Spiroudome. I have many fond memories of the matches against Justine as well as Brian's farewell match, I was a spectator there. I have to know the audience literally explode repeatedly. If we can play for a full house we have are already more than one step ahead of the Czechs, so we count on you! You can order tickets at www.belgianfedcup.be
Meanwhile I have taken a look into the plans for a renewed Boneput in Bree could look into and it looks really great! The Kim Clijsters Sports & Health Club should be ready by the end of the year: a friendly tennis club where everyone feels at home. A place where we want to be at home and spend a lot of time ourselves. But more later this year. First we focus on training and tournaments!
'Festive season is over'
The parties are over. For us anyway. In a few hours we leave for Thailand for the first task of the new year.
The Christmas period has been busy though. Super cozy, yet am I glad it's over. The neverending presents (not least for Jada), it never seemed to stop. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my grandparents and Christmas Day saw the family Clijsters come to our place. Add the preparations, cleaning, packing for about a month and Jada who is not that well and then there is little time left to play tennis.
I'll be happy when we arrive in Thailand and I can be on the court again. Outdoor courts too! Which hasn't been the case for a while. It will take some getting used to. We'll see how the match against Wozniacki on 1 January will be. We're also looking forward to the country, we have never been there before. The advantage of an exhibition match is that you live the day in a more relaxing atmosphere and that you may reel in some local highlights.
From there we travel to Sydney where I want to prepare for the first major task of the year in Melbourne! Should I stay free of any injury in 2011, I hope I can achieve good results but also to be able enjoy them. This might very well be the last full season I'll be playing.
I wish you a very nice transition from old to new, good health and good luck in 2011!