SOCCER, GYMNASTICS & TENNIS
Father Lei is a soccer international and mother Els a Belgian champion in gymnastics, but Kim chooses tennis. At 6 she starts tennis-competition at Tennisdel in Genk. Bart Van Kerckhoven is her coach from 1992 till 1996. He sees Kim, at 11, winning the Belgian Junior Championship. He is then convinced she can become a top 10-player world-wide and bet a sixpack of beer on it.
In 1996 Kim goes to the tennis school in Wilrijk (Antwerp). The unique combination study-toptennis gives talented young persons the opportunity to show themselves on an international level. At the trainingcenter she meets coach Carl Maes. Maes accompanies her on practice and tournaments abroad. He shall be her coach from 1996 to June 2002, and again from June 2011.
WTA - DEBUT IN ANTWERP
Kim is successful in the junior grandslams and in 1998 she becomes the youngest national A champion ever (age 15). In ITF - tournaments, the step to the WTA -tour, she is also very good. The time comes in 1999: Kim debuts in the WTA tour in Antwerp. It is only in the quarterfinals that she loses to first seed Sarah Pitkowski.
Kim makes her way through the WTA - tour. Because of her enthusiasm, spontaneity and sportsmanship, tennis lovers and colleagues worldwide come to love her in no time. The appreciation only rises when Kim remains herself even after successes in Grand Slams and at the Masters. "Our Kim" becomes a household name in Belgium.
34 + 11 TITLES
Kim can call herself unofficial world champion, twice even, as she won the Masters in both 2002 and 2003. In 2005 she beats the field of contenders at the US Open. She also reached four more Grand Slam finals and has won 34 singles titles in her career. In the doubles Kim is successful as well. In 2003 she wins both the French Open and Wimbledon along Ai Sugiyama. Together with the Japanese she reels in another 9 doubles titles.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
In 2007 Kim concludes her wonderful career in tennis. Her last tournament is the one in Warsaw, but it is at the Diamond Games in Antwerp that Kim parts from her Belgian audience in a very moving way. The ode song by Clouseau says it all: 'You gave it all you got. You always kept your cool, because tennis is a game. Kim Clijsters thank you very much!'
At a press conference on 26 March 2009 Kim announces her second career. In the new year Kim started training eagerly and systematically again. She initially aimed at participating in a few exhibition tournaments. Soon her hunger for more had her up her traininig schedule even more and on 10 August Kim will play her first official match since her retirement in Cincinnati.
SUCCESSFUL TENNIS MOM
Kim II is no less successful than Kim I. On the contrary. In the first year and a half of her second tennis career, Kim is a whirlwind on the tennis courts. She wins 7 tournaments, among which the US Open (in both 2009 & 2010), the Australian Open (2011) and the Masters (2010). This way, Kim, who married American basketball player Brian Lynch in 2007 and gave birth to Jada a year later, becomes the most successful tennis mom in history. Because of all these victories, Kim is once again the number 1 in the world in February 2011. If both careers are added up, she will be the highest ranking tennis player for 20 weeks.
FAREWELL TOUR 2012
The second part of Kim's second career is marked by injuries. Therefore, there are no new tournament wins. Despite all these setbacks, Kim plays well during her farewell tour. In London, she gets a whiff of the Olympic atmosphere for the first time, and reaches the quarter finals. The final tournament of Kim's impressive tennis career will be the US Open in New York, not coincidentally the tournament where she achieved the greatest successes of her career. Kim wants to enjoy herself as much as she can, and she will play the singles, the women's doubles and the mixed doubles. Big Bang in the Big Apple!
|Nick name||Killing Kim, Kim Kong|
|Date of Birth||8 June 1983|
|Place of birth||Bilzen, Belgium|
|Height||1.74 m (5'8 1/2'')|
|Weight||68 kg (150 lbs.)|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Father||Lei Clijsters (died 4 January 2009)|