Kim's preparation for 2012 on target
Kim is al volop bezig met haar voorbereiding op 2012. Maar daarvoor speelt ze op 8 december eerst nog de Diamond Games in het Antwerpse Sportpaleis. Haar eerste tornooi in 2012 wordt dat van Brisbane.
Kim has been out for several months. (picture Belga)
Kim has already started preparing for 2012. Before the new seasons starts, however, she will take part in the Diamond Games in the Antwerp Sportpaleis on 8 December. Her first tournament in 2012 will be Brisbane.

For a while Kim suffered from several injuries. The problems with the right foot and the stomach muscles seem to be past by now. "Both the right foot and the stomach muscles respond well to the efforts. I maintain some of my recovery exercises, especially for the abdominal muscles," Kim wrote in her blog.

Kim has to be completely fit on 8 December. Then the Diamond Games are held. "We've added a lot of stamina 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
Kim: "On 1 January 2012 my season will start at the Brisbane tournament."
and my new sparring partner Stefan Wauters."

The Diamond Games are a first test, but the real works start on 1 January, 2012. "In the next couple of weeks my training sessions will include more and 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," according to Kim.

Kim won the Brisbane tournament in 2010, after a very exciting final against Justine Henin. Kim won 6-3, 4-6 and 7-6 after nearly two and half hours of tennis. "Kim is a very popular tennis star and it is fantastic to have her on the courts in Brisbane again", tournament director Cameron Pearson said on the event's web site. Maria Sharapova (WTA 2), Samantha Stosur (WTA 6) and Serena Williams (WTA 14) should also take part.

Kim elected for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
Former world No. 1s Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick have been elected to receive the highest honor in tennis - induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining them in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a 4-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis.
International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1987 Hall of Famer Stan Smith stated: 'It's a real pleasure to welcome these remarkable individuals into the Hall of Fame. Kim, Andy, and Monique compiled outstanding careers, winning the game's biggest titles and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking."

The Class of 2017 will be officially inducted on July 22, during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale in early February. In addition, the class will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit opening in June in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which will be displayed for one year.

Kim was unable to travel to the festivities in Melbourne. Kim stated: "I feel very, very honored to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It is a huge honor to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up, and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well."

One of six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles, Belgium's Kim Clijsters, was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the world top-5 for 250 weeks during her career. Bolstered by a powerful baseline game and remarkable defensive skills on court, Kim won four Grand Slam tournament singles titles. She is a three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009, 2010) and she was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. Kim won two major doubles titles, capturing both the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003.

Since retirement, Kim , now a mother of three, has been focused on her family. She remains engaged in tennis through Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium, where many juniors train and through competing in Legends events at the Grand Slams.
Baby Jack for Kim
Kim has given birth to a baby boy: Jack. The news was confirmed by her husband Brian Lynch on Twitter on Wednesday evening.
"Jack Lynch is born! Absolutely incredible. Mom is well and is my hero! Jada is an adorable big sis. What more can I say!!", the proud father tweeted.

Jack's mother replied already as well. She tweeted "Jack Leon Lynch is born! Born at 7.06 pm tonight and we are both doing well... His big sister , mama and daddy are very proud and happy!"

30-year-old Kim Clijsters and Brian Lynch already have a daughter, Jada.
Kim awarded honorary doctorate
From now on, Kim can call herself Doctor Honoris Causa. "It's my first degree ever," Kim laughs. "And the standards is very high from the start already."
Along with four other women, Kim received an honorary doctorate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels). Strikingly, the VUB presents its 2013 honorary doctorates to women only: Prof Cecilia Jarlskog (Lund University, Sweden), Prof Londa Schiebinger (Stanford University, USA), Prof Carol Gilligan (New York University, USA), prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (International Criminal Court) and the Belgian tennis champion Kim Clijsters.

"These are five outstanding people, from the world of academia and one from the world sports. They have all reached the highest possible level in their field and as a woman," Rector Paul De Knop said. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel strives for a better balance between men and women in academia, and to that end has an active gender policy. "We're not only banking on it now, but also for the future. For future candidates for honorary degrees, we will aim for a balance between men and women," said De Knop.

"I'd never given it much thought," Kim says. "It was important for me to be playing tennis and to be as good as possible. The fact that I'm here because of a sporting career is truly a great honor."

Not only did Kim shine as an ace tennis player, according to the University she also become an inspiration to many women and to mothers who combine their career with their families. "I often felt guilty to be leaving for training session or to be traveling," Kim says. "It would all have been impossible if I would not have had the support of Brian."

With the honorary doctorate for Kim, "the appreciation is expressed about the role she fulfilled as an ambassador for her sport and for the way she combined a sports career with a family," said the VUB.
Kim and Brian expecting a baby boy
Kim's pregnancy is going well. The baby is in good health and will be a boy. That was tweeted by his proud father, who is over the moon.
"Baby is healthy and we found out we are having a boy! We are super happy!", husband Brian tweeted. Jada will become a big sister
Kim Clijsters expecting second child
Kim Clijsters announced on her blog and via Twitter that she is expecting a second baby. "We some exciting news. Jada is going to be a big sister!"
"It was no secret that Brian and myself were planning to extend the family", Kim writes. "And here we are: halfway into September Jada will have a brother or sister. We are of course delighted. I'm doing fine, even though I tire more easily right now. But that's about the only issue. We're looking forward to be a family of four soon."

Kim Clijsters married former basket ball player Brian Lynch in 2007. Their daughter Jada was born in February 2008.
A farewell wave and final win for Kim
For years there's been this joke, in Dutch, that each time Kim entered the Antwerp Sportpaleis the roof is blown off by the audience's cheers. This time as well, when Kim entered the court of the Kim's Thanks You Games with BNP Paribas at about 7.15pm for her last match the crowd went wild.
Venus and Kim. (picture belga)

Many celebrities joined the crowd, as did the heir apparent Prince Philip and his wife, Mathilda. A royal presence for a royal evening.

After warming up Kim and Venus were ready for 3 tie break sets. Kim won the toss and started serving. She reeled in the first points of the match. At 30-0 a first rallye was decided in favour of the Belgian, after which she pressed on and won the first game, 1-0.

When finally halfway into the second point someone cheered Venus, the American was visibly pleased. With a bit of luck Venus's won the second game. The third game already offered the level the audience wanted to see. Both players were well-matched, there were some rallies and drops. Kim won her second serve game, after which DJ Regi took over.

However, in the fourth game there was no holding Venus and the American quickly levelled at 2-2. The fifth game did not take long either and at the next break Kim was leading 3-2. Breaks between games were brief and with pumping beats produced by Regi, the event started going really fast.

At a first break point in the fifth game, which Kim had managed after a near split, Venus equalled. At deuce, Kim opted for Venus in the receiver's choice and broke through Venus's service game, 4-2 after 17 minutes. When at 30 all in the seventh game, Kim reeled in her point, she produced a decided fist, visibly happy with the win. She powered on to 5-2.

In a rather straightforward game, Venus started her way back into the match at 5-3. Regi subsequently got the crowd going. Despite a difficult drop shot, Venus managed to answer the first point, but the ball was out, only just. Kim pressed on to 40-0, after which the audience went loud first, Kim managed another point and won the game and set, 6-3 after 26 minutes. In the aidnece banners of 'Limburg loves Kim' and Belgian flags were waved.


Venus started the second set with a winner on her service game, but her second point went too wide, as did her third. More unforced errors followed, but at 30-40 Kim sent the ball along the sideline just right, which prompted a thumbs up from Venus. Kim eventually won the first game, breaking through Venus service. Hands clapped on the tones of Seven Nation Army.

In Kim's first service game of the second set, Venus started playing more secure and the Belgian soon faced a 15-40 difference. After an unforced error by Kim, Venus equalled, 1-1. With a series of unforced errors, Venus won the third game, 2-1.

At 2-2 and 30-30, 45 minutes into the match, the crowd enjoyed some tense wide and open tennis with lots of volleys. Another such point later the temperature started rising in the Antwerp Sportpaleis, especially among the players. Kim eventually won the fifth game and lead 3-2. The first Mexican waves started going around, with Venus and Kim joining. It became a true farewell wave.

After 55 minutes, Venus albeit easily reeled in her service game. At 4-3, it seemed the second set was about to mimick the first one. At 30-0 on her serve, Kim produced funny noises, nice dropshots - upon which Venus replied with changing success - and timid smiles with part of the the audience. 5-3.

As the set came to a close, more and more photographers joined along the court. Clearly some more competition was left, but not for long. After an unforced errror, Kim won the game, set and match. 6-3 twice after 62 minutes.

In an immediate response after the match Venus reiterated that it was great to be back. I've got so many great memories here. It's an honour to be back. To which Kim replied "Venus, it's been a pleasure to have you here tonight and a real honour to have been playing you in the last 15 years. You've been an inspiration, it's always been a pleasure playing against you."

Kim then received a lifesize tennis racket, talked to the Royal couple, after which the party was about to start. Under loud tones produced by Regi, Kim left the Sportpaleis, her final act as a tennis player on the professional court, near final because she would be back still for a doubles along Amélie Mauresmo, against Venus Williams and Kirsten Flipkens. In the meantime Kim is the main star of a farewell show on television, broadcast live from the Sportpaleis.
Kim's last press conference: 'I followed my heart'
At her last press conference as a tennis player, Kim was handed a pieces of artwork. An art box containing small flacons, with in them grass from Wimbledon, clay from her home court and the like.
Kim. (picture belga)
At her press conference at the Kim's Thank You Games with BNP Paribas Fortis in Antwerp, Kim reminisced for the last time in front of the cameras. 'I've been looking forward to this farewell. It has been very busy, you know, the book, the magazine... It is great to be able to see the final result, but it has been busy.'

'I said goodbye to the world of tennis in New York, but I wanted to have another farewell in Antwerp, before a home audience. I have lived through some of the most impressive moments of my life here, something I sort of expect today too. I'm nervous and excited. But when it will be over tonight, there will be a feeling of relief. I've been receiving tons of emotional messages in the last few weeks, especially the last two days. That kind of fuss about my farewell event created quite some stress. I might even cry at some point during the evening, but not when it will all be over.'

'The first thing l'll be doing after today  is looking after Jada, prepare breakfast for her, the same daily life as before to be honest. Get a Christmas tree in and decorate it. I love to cook, I'll be reading more now, take care of the garden, look after the house.'

Kim might be looking forward to a more quiet life and easy daily routine, but already her drive appears: 'I'm very proud to be seeing kids play at our club and to be having a closer contact with the youngsters. I'll be joining training sessions when I can, some Wednesdays or Saturdays, or when Kirsten (Fkipkens, ed.) will be trianing. I might have been her coach at the Luxemburg tournament, but I don't want to travel the world for 35 weeks on row anymore. It could be I'll help Kirsten out once and a while, but we didn't even talk about any of that.'

Kim continued about herself. 'I don't see myself as a role model at all. I don't think I can assume a role in the Belgian Olympic movement or the WTA (a suggestion made by Jacques Rogge, ed.) right now. I'll continue to run, play squash, ride a mountain bike and the like, but not really in any competition of sorts, even though that drive is still there. It's even easier to maintain a healthy diet than ever before. I do sometimes enjoy a glass of wine when we're out for a dinner.' She continued about the years to come. 'I've realised all the dreams I had when I was a little girl. Become the world's number one, reel in Grand Slams. But things change when you grow older and we would love to have another child.'

Asked whether or not she would have done something differently, the Belgian replied that she 'always followed her heart. Perhaps I should have used my reason a bit more once and a while, but so be it.' Kim then told her last press conference she expected Rafa to win the 2013 Australian Open, or Andy Murray, and Serena Williams. And off she went, preparing for her last match, against Venus Williams.
Venus: 'Sportsmanship'
At the first press conference of Kim's Thank You Games with BNP Paribas Fortis, Venus Williams talked about the good times she had playing against Kim.
Venus Williams. (picture belga)
The American four time Olympic gold winner has been important to the development of Kim's career, but for the Diamond Games in Antwerp too. 'I have the best of memories of staying in Antwerp, this brings back so many memories. I was here a few years ago, but I was so much younger. The matches were very competitive too, maybe because of the diamond racket. Living it all again is just very sentimental. Right now, it is such an honour to be here, it represents a time, a golden time in the past ten years."

Looking back on the past years, Venus acknowledged that "it was just a party of good players and competitive matches. Kim and Justine improved so much throughout their career, so everyone had to improve to keep up with them." On the era in which two sisters competed with two Belgians, the latter each from one part of Belgium, she confirmed that she had been thinking about that. "You can't plan that. I first saw her play in 1999 against Serena in the US Open. Kim had her opportunities and made full use of her potential."

One of the most important moments for Kim while playing Venus must have been the 2005 US Open: "I was leading but she still won it. We always had tough matches in the US Open. It was a great story for her to come back and win again."

The oldest Williams sister was very clear about what made Kim the star player she is, was. "She's one of those players who does everything well. Her movement was amazing, she was very consistent and added that aggressive power. Not many people are able to display all three qualities, that made her so powerful." Venus herself no longer does splits, "I used to be able to do the splits, more than ten years ago. The split should have been Kim's logo."

"As a player, you always remember the matches you won, but when you get older, you start to appreciate the memories. I have so many memories on the court with her.
I'll remember her sportsmanship, she always seemed genuinely happy for you, even when she lost, that's pretty rare. She's a genuine person." The seven time Grand Slam winner admitted that she'll miss Kim. "The last year or so, I kept hoping that she did well, I just wanted to see her win. I'll miss her, tennis needs international stars like her, she helps to keep the game grow. Tennis will definitely miss her."

With Justine already retired, Kim about to bow out and the Williams sisters leaving at some point in a not too distant future, there might be lack of personality, but "you can't play forever that's for sure. Hopefully there will be more players that people can connect with." Venus herself wants to continue for a few more years, "focusing on the majors and playing in Rio, because I love the Olympics".

Asked whether she was allowed to win tonight, the oldest Williams answered that she was "a little nervous to be honest. The whole country is watching, but the nerves will be worse for her. But we'll show people the tennis we used to play."
Unique Kim magazine
On Tuesday 11 December, a unique magazine was published in Belgium. Written in Dutch only, the one-off personality magazine offers a glimpse of the person behind the sportswoman.
The magazine was co-edited by Kim herself and offers an insight into the heroes of Kim. Into the people she learned from, the everyday routine, her family, friends and her life off court. Kim also talks about her house, her dream garden, her favourite pastimes, places to eat out...

The magazine is available in Dutch and in Belgium (Flanders and Brussels) only.
Previous texts
12-12-2012 Kim's Thank You Games with BNP Paribas Fortis
13-11-2012 Kim buys audience tennis, tv-show and presents
Kim: 'Always fun with Venus around'
29-10-2012 Venus Williams sees Kim off