Kim Clijsters looks to other Grand Slams

BY foxsports • September 12, 2010

After winning her second consecutive U.S. Open title and third overall, Kim Clijsters is looking to finally make her breakthrough at the other Grand Slams.

All of the Belgian's three major championships have come at the U.S. Open, so there's still plenty to accomplish.

''They all motivate you in a different way,'' Clijsters said of the other Grand Slams after winning again at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night, beating Russia's Vera Zvonareva in straight sets.

The Australian Open, played on hard courts like the U.S. Open, is somewhere she believes she can do better. She feels a connection to Wimbledon because her late father always enjoyed his time there. And the French Open seems like home because so many Belgians attend.

Clay is her least favorite surface. She has twice reached the final at Roland Garros.

''Maybe I should embrace it a little bit more and have that confidence that I have whenever I step on a hard court,'' Clijsters said.

If she stays healthy, Clijsters will have at least two more chances to win at those other Grand Slams. She has said repeatedly she wants to play in the Olympics in London in 2012, but she doesn't envision herself staying around much longer than that.

Clijsters had never successfully defended a major title - until now.

''A new kind of emotion that I've never really experienced before,'' Clijsters said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday morning, hours after sweeping past Zvonareva in the final.

''That was fun to have that change in my career now that I'm a little older and still feel those new emotions.''

Clijsters recalled that she watched the 2006 U.S. Open from home with a cast on her wrist. She had won her first Grand Slam championship at Flushing Meadows the previous year, but couldn't defend the title because of injuries. Frustration with an inability to stay healthy was part of why she soon retired from tennis.

She also wanted a family, and since her comeback to the sport just over a year ago Clijsters has proved you can have both. She limits her playing schedule to ensure she spends enough time with her 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Jada.

In her year back on tour, Clijsters has had to learn to expect that she may struggle in the first tournament back after a layoff. It's a sense of perspective that doesn't come naturally to players.

''That's a switch I've had to make: 'OK, I'm taking tournaments because I need the matches and I'm working on things I want to focus on,''' Clijsters said. ''It's definitely frustrating at times.''

She recalled that back in March, she lost early at Indian Wells - then won her next tournament at Miami.

Clijsters and her husband, Brian Lynch, want more children and talk about it sometimes. But for now they're in no rush.

Even if Jada is good at putting on the pressure.

''She's like, 'I want a sister. I want a brother.' And she says it and I'm like, 'Oh, I'm so sorry,''' Clijsters said with a laugh. ''But she's fine. And I know that when she's a little bit older, she'll be very much helping out and that's something that she looks forward to as well.''

''We have dogs for now,'' she added. ''So she still has other siblings.''

in this topic

share story