Kim Clijsters played her final singles match today at the US Open. Site of three of her four career Grand Slams, Clijsters fell in two tight tiebreakers to British teen Laura Robson.
The 29-year-old mother and former No. 1 said all year this would be her last event, and she meant it. Clijsters is still entered in doubles and mixed but her time on the singles court is cover.
“I think in the first hour after the match there was still disappointment and a little bit of frustration,” said Clijsters. “But after talking and thinking about the retirement, I’m happy.”
Her love of the game and her genuine warmth she shared with her fellow players and fans touched many. Here’s a sample from what the players said today obout the beloved Belgian:
Petra Kvitova: “Well, when I start on the tour she didn’t play. And then when I was like around 60 spot on the world she came and she had a great result. I had great respect to her. Still I have great respect. She’s a great model. She is a very nice girl. Yeah, I like her very much. She’s always say, hi, how are you, and well done, things like this. Actually in Miami when I played her I lost like 6‑2, 6‑1, very easy, and she said that it’s good way how I’m playing. She believed that I can improve a lot. That was very nice from her.”
Victoria Azarenka: “I never played her here at the Open, but we had great matches. Definitely the one we had in Australia this year was absolutely amazing. As I said before, Kim is, you know, a great role model for all of us. She has a great personality. I was actually just chatting with her about shopping in the locker room before we came out. I mean, she’s just great for our sport. For sure we’ll miss her.”
Maria Sharapova: “She was a tremendous athlete, a really good competitor. The nicest thing you saw about her was her commitment to the sport but also wanting to have a great family life, retiring from the sport to have that and then coming back and achieving things in winning the US Opens that she did and the Australian Open.”
Samantha Stosur: “She’s been a great player and a great person. She’s definitely one of those people that you can look up to and really admire with what she’s been able to achieve.”
Laura Robson: “I just want to thank Kim for being such a good role model for me for so many years,” Robson told ESPN’s Pam Shriver in her on-court interview straight after the match. “It was an absolute pleasure to play against you.”
Julia Goerges: “Its so sad to see kim leaving the tour…she is just an amazing person,great rolemodel.we will all miss her!all the best for her life after tennis life”
Vania King: “@Clijsterskim Kim, you are an inspiration to us all, thanks for staying in the sport for so long!”
Lisa Raymond: “One of our sports greatest ambassadors @Clijsterskim … its been a privilege and you will be missed!”
Andy Roddick: “Tennis loves you @clijsterskim ! It’s been a pleasure to know and watch you…. Wish you all the happiness in the world!”
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