2014/10/24

Tennis News & Net Notes

Federer sets Pre-Australian Open Exhibition Match to Benefit his Charity:  Roger Federer is set to play an exhibition match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Rod Laver Arena on January 8, 2014 via The Australian

Roger-Federer-Madrid-600x380

2014 Golden Achievement Award: The ITF and the International Tennis Hall of Fame gives the Golden Achievement Award to David Jude, a longtime volunteer leader in the tennis community who served as Honorary Treasurer of the ITF for 37 years. via ITF Tennis

Fedex Reliability Zone: Best Under Pressure Rafael Nadal posted the best winning percentage against top 10 opponents in 2013 via ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal

The Kim Clijsters Invitational: See pics of Clijsters, Ivanovic, Flipkens, Malisse and Leconte from the event held in Antwerp. via WTA Tour

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Britain’s Laura Robson Ousts Tenth Seed Maria Kirilenko at Wimbledon

LauraRobson for Wilson

(June 25, 2013) Teenager Laura Robson became the first British woman to knock out a top ten player at Wimbledon since 1998 when she beat No. 10 Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday. The last time it happened it was Britain’s Sam Smith taking down No. 7 Conchita Martinez.

It was a big win for me,” Robson said. “I think it was good that I managed to tough it out after I got so nervous in the second set.  And, yeah, I’m happy.”

A former junior Wimbledon champion, Robson used her big serve to overpower the Russian. Robson and Andy Murray remain the only singles players from Great Britain still in the draw.

Robson’s victory was celebrated by Great Britain’s Prime Minister Davis Cameron who tweeted:

 

In her post-match news conference Robson was vehement in defending women’s tennis in Great Britain. When asked about what’s wrong with women’s tennis in her country she replied: “Nothing.  You know, I think everyone had tough matches.  You know, before this week, everyone was playing really well.  So it’s unfortunate that no one else made the second round.

“But that happens sometimes.  Last year I lost in the first round.  So, uhm, yeah, you know, you go through stages of ups and downs like everyone else.”

This was the 19-year-old’s third victory over a top ten player. At the 2012 U.S. Open she defeated Li Na and Kim Clijsters.

“I think I go out against the top players with nothing to lose, ” Robson said.  “I’ve always been like that.  And in the past I’ve started out well in the first couple of games of the first set and then just not been able to hold on to that lead.

“I’ve been really happy with my progress with the last couple months with that and, yeah, just being able to tough out wins.”

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Clijsters Plays Final Match at US Open

NEW YORK, NY, USA – Upon the completion of her US Open competition in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, Kim Clijsters’ professional tennis career, which has spanned 15 years, has come to an end.  With 41 career singles titles, including four Grand Slams and three titles at the season-ending WTA Championships, Clijsters says good-bye to the game secure in her position as one of the all-time greats.

 

“I have really enjoyed my years on the WTA,” said Clijsters. “It has been a great 15 years filled with so many memories. I could not think of a better tournament to finish with. Now I am looking forward to beginning a new chapter in my life and look forward to spending more time with my family. Thank you to all my fans for all their support throughout the years and I wish all my colleagues continued success on and off court.”

 

Clijsters, who had reached the finals at her last four US Open appearances, says farewell at the tournament that has in many ways come to define her career. Heading into her second round match against Laura Robson the 29-year-old Belgian was on a 22-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows – a run stemming back to her defeat by Justine Henin in the final of 2003. Only Chris Evert has won more consecutive matches at the US Open: 31, between 1975 and 1979.

 

“Kim is one of the all-time greats and a one-of-a-kind player that is loved by her fellow competitors and fans alike,” said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. “Kim’s fans around the world admire her strength, character and achievements in the sport, all of which will ensure her status as an icon and legend.  Among her many achievements in the sport, her incredible comeback after becoming a mother was one of the great inspirational moments in tennis in recent times.  I look forward to her ongoing friendship to all of us in the sport.”

 

Clijsters’ ‘first career’ was highlighted by two victories at the WTA Championships (2002-03), 19 non-consecutive weeks as World No.1 on the WTA Rankings (first attained on August 11, 2003 for 10 weeks), and a maiden Grand Slam title at the 2005 US Open. That triumph at Flushing Meadows came after four runner-up finishes at the Slams: Roland Garros in 2001 and 2003, the US Open in 2003 and the Australian Open in 2004.

 

Clijsters stepped away from tennis in May 2007, marrying Brian Lynch shortly after and giving birth to a daughter, Jada, in February 2008. But in July 2009, after 26 months away from the tour, she launched what would prove to be a famous comeback. In just her third tournament back, Clijsters won the US Open to become the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980. She defended that title in 2010, going on to capture a third WTA Championships title at Doha, and winning the 2011 Australian Open. Her win in Melbourne helped Clijsters return to No.1 one for a 20th career week in February 2011.

 

With 41 singles titles (41-19 in finals), Clijsters is placed third among active players, behind Serena Williams (44 titles) and Venus Williams (43), and 14th on the Open Era list. She reached at least the semifinals on 16 of her 35 Grand Slam appearances and also shined in doubles, winning 2003 Roland Garros and Wimbledon (both with Ai Sugiyama) among 11 titles and spending 4 weeks at No.1. She is one of just six women to simultaneously hold the top spot in both singles and doubles.

 

Over the course of her 15-year career, Clijsters delivered against the very best. She finished with a 13-12 record against fellow Belgian Henin; a 9-8 record against Lindsay Davenport; and an 8-7 record against Amélie Mauresmo. She went 7-6 with Venus Williams, 5-4 over both Martina Hingis and Maria Sharapova, and 3-3 against Jennifer Capriati. Among her fellow former No.1s, only Serena Williams built a winning record against her (2-7).

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Clijsters’ Career ends with Upset Loss to Robson at US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Kim Clijsters has played her last singles match.  The Belgian saying that she would call it a career after this tournament, fell in the second round of the US Open 7-6 (4), 7-6(5) to British 18-year-old Laura Robson. The loss which ended the Belgian’s,  career also snapped a 22-match winning streak which last over seven years. Her last loss at the US Open came in the 2003 final when she fell to Justine Henin.

In her on-court interview the 29-year-old said “This completely feels like the perfect place to retire, I just wish it wasn’t today.”

Clijsters won four major titles in her career – US Opens in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and the 2011 Australian Open.

 

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A New “Sunshine” – Victoria Duval

Victoria Duval photo by Steve Pratt

 

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Tennis may already have a player with the nickname “sunshine” in Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, but in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night a 16-year-old wild card entrant from Florida may be taking that “sunshine” nick name away from the Dane. Meet the US National 18 and under champion and Florida native Victoria Duval. She was a hit with both the public and media at the US Open despite losing to 25th seed Kim Clijsters 6-3, 6-1.

The charming, high-pitched teenager ranked 562 in the world welcomed the fact that she drew Clijsters, one of her idols in the first round. I felt like one of the luckiest 16-year-olds ever,” said Duval. To play Clijsters in her last tournament, it was exciting.”

It was like history repeating, when Clijsters was 16, she played Steffi Graf in the German’s last tournament. “She told me that walking out to the court,”Duval noted.

“I had moments when I was younger when I played Steffi (Graf) at Wimbledon and she was my big idol,” Clijsters said. “So it kind of takes you back through a lot of emotions and memories.

“It was nice in a way to get a feeling of the atmosphere from her side. I just told her that we’ve all been there, and it’s great to have these opportunities. We spoke a bit after the match. She was really sweet. I think she has a good game to be out there.”

“I was saying that I couldn’t even sleep I was so excited, so she (Clijsters) said ˜I know how you feel.”

From the moment she stepped on court, the New York crowd was supporting the teenager and loudly cheered her on, for every point and game she won. It was the Floridian of Haitian descent’s first-ever tour-level main draw match.

“Indescribable feeling,” was Duval’s reaction in regard to 23,000 fans supporting her, “it was much more than I expected. The whole atmosphere was just incredible.”

“I was really nervous. But I thought I did a good job of not showing it.”

“What surprised me was the crowd, it was a different experience when you are hearing it on TV than when you are actually there. Having all those people behind me since the first game, it was incredible,” said the teenager with almost the sense of disbelief.

Duval actually had a 3-2 lead in the first set against Clijsters, “Walking to the chair, I was like, `I am actually up 3-2 right now!'” Duval said. “She definitely picked up her level a lot¦.she played like Kim Clijsters from that point on.”

Duvall”s engaging personality dismissed the struggles her family has had while living in Haiti. Although she was born in Florida, she grew up in Haiti where her parents are from. As a child, Duval and some of her cousins were taken hostage by robbers.

Her father also survived a 2010 earthquake in Haiti, in which he survived being buried under rubble and his legs were broken.

Her hardships have made her and her tennis stronger.

“It helped my tennis in the sense that in those circumstances, we were just saying, no matter how tough things get, you’re always going to get out of it.’ So in my tennis, that’s basically what I’ve been living by,”

“We were in the locker room and Kim asked to take a picture, just for her memory. I thought that was so nice cuz I was he one that should be begging her her for her picture.”

“She is definitely, you know, my idol, and that”s why it shows again why she”s a nice person.”

Duval”s other tennis idols include Venus and Serena Williams.

“I got a chance to see Venus,” Duval commented. “I didn’t get a chance to interact with her.. but hopefully I”ll get a chance because I love her too.”

“I get compared to Venus with my game, because of our physicality, “ Duval said. “So I always watch her tapes to see what I can improve in my game.”

Answering a question on whether or not she’ll reach Venus’s height, Duval quipped: “I was told my growth plates are still open, so it looks goooood!!! Six feet, C’mon!”

With a large Haitian community in the New York City area I asked her about their support. I’m sure a lot of them were watching,” Duval said. “Maybe all of Haiti but I don’t know.”

Duvall may be out of the women’s singles but she’ll play the Junior tournament. “Downgrading,” she said jokingly. Last year she played three junior slams – the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

She’s planning on playing more professional tournaments, while playing some of the junior Grand Slam events. She’s hoping to get her ranking high enough to play in the professional ranks. “My dream is playing pro tennis,” Duval said.

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Notes and Quotes from Day 1 of the 2012 US Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Some of the more off-beat questions and answers from Day 1 of the 2012 US Open.
Q.  Not too many WTA players are named Sam.  Can you take a moment and say like what the upside of having a name like that is, is there any downside, or give us on a rainy day a good story about your name.
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  No, there is no downside.  I’m happy ‑‑ I guess over the course of my life, my career, Samantha got shortened to Sam.  The one person that always called me Samantha was my grandfather.  It’s good.  You certainly don’t get confused in the locker room.  You hear your name and you know it’s about you.
It’s fine.
 
Q.  So is your grandfather a traditionalist and not happy for it to be shortened?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I guess he was.  My mom and dad only called me Samantha when I was little and did something naughty, so I didn’t hear it too often, I don’t think.
I guess it’s one of those names that is not as common.
Q.  You very obviously are one of the best tennis players in the world, but you talk about sort of putting match after match together.  Could you talk about the art of sort of putting seven big matches together on the biggest stage?  Part of that of course is getting past the big three or four that we now have in men’s tennis.
JOHN ISNER:  Yeah, I don’t really know much about that art.  Actually, I have never done it.  (Laughter.)  The closest I have come was last year at this tournament.  I had a little bit of a taste of what it’s like.
You know, I know it’s so tough.  You know, I think for me, my goal is, my first goal is to get through the first week.  That’s so, so hard.
You know, I want to win my first few matches and take it from there.  I was able to get to do that last year.  My round of 16 match I won.  It was a really close match, and I had to turn around and play the very next day because of all the rain.  That was a bit of a tough turnaround.  Ran into a guy who was just better than me.
You know, like I said, I don’t know much about it, but I know it’s very hard.  I got to the quarterfinals last year, and I’d love to get back to that spot this year and have another crack at it.
Q.  Do you feel anything different in your game since you started working with Carlos?
NA LI:  Maybe a little bit change; maybe not.
 
Q.  What changed?
NA LI:  I say maybe change; maybe not.  (Laughter.)
Q.     Families sometimes can be very, very tricky.  What was the hardest part day in, day out of having your husband as your coach?
NA LI:  Yeah.  I mean, after I got new coach I think for both me and my husband I think much, much easier.  Love is love; coach is coach.  You have to separate.
You know, I mean, after I change the coach, didn’t say my husband didn’t do a good job.  I think he’s still doing good job.  But for both sometimes it’s too much, you know.  Like it’s really tough to find a balance between coaching and husband.

Q.  After all the development, the planning, the trips to Spain, it’s finally going to come out, if I understand correctly, but there’s a little bit of a problem.  There’s a guy named Roger Federer who has Lindor truffles.  As a marketing person now, how would you tell America to try Sugarpova and not Roger’s?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  Well that’s chocolate.  Mine are gummies and gumballs.  It’s like, What’s your preference?  That’s made in Switzerland; this is made in Spain.  No, a lot of differences.

I mean, those are quite different.  I’m just happy that it’s finally over with.  I worked on it for a long time.  There’s not much to be done from my end in a way except promote it and letting the world know about it.

Q.  Ultimately can a gumball stand up to a truffle?

MARIA SHARAPOVA:  It depends what your preference is.  I mean, mid‑afternoon I’m not a big truffle person; I’m more of a gum girl.  But it depends what everybody likes.

Q.  Are you to the point in your career where you’re starting to get old jokes from your peers?
JAMES BLAKE:  I have been that way for a while.  The thing is I knew I was going to get them, because when I was a kid starting out around here I dished them out.  So I knew they would come back to haunt me.
I remember I used to make fun of Todd Martin.  Todd Martin was one of my key guys I would get.  I made fun of him for taking so long to warm up, for his gray hair, for all that kind of stuff, for just in general being old.
He said, Just wait, just wait.  You will be, too.  Now I’m getting it from everyone.  I deserve it, because if I dish it out, I’ve got to be able to take it.  I’m getting the old jokes, the grandpa jokes, and I’m okay with that.
Q.  There was stunning news about Lance.  In our sport, there has been incidents.  Do you think the situation of performance enhancements are under control in tennis?  Is there any problem?  What are your thoughts on that topic?
JAMES BLAKE:  In tennis I think they do a great job of testing.  Of course at times it’s inconvenient to me when I get woken up at 6:00 a.m. to pee in a cup.  It’s their job.  I know they’re doing it.  I know if they’re doing it to me, they’re doing it to everyone else.  I’m happy too do that.
I may not be cheery at 6:00 in the morning when they’re coming, but I’m happy to do that and I’m happy to take part of in the USADA and WADA regulations.
I don’t know what to think about Lance.  Cycling has seen what seems to be like the steroid era in baseball where it seems like everyone is clouded.  You don’t know.  Like he said, he’s passed like 500,600 tests.
But have no idea.  I don’t know Lance at all.  Never met him.  I don’t know what he’s like.  I know his story is inspirational.  I know how many people he’s helped.  That’s incredible.  However he did it, it’s still inspirational, no matter what he did.
He’s definitely someone that makes a difference in this world in a positive way.  I don’t know if erasing seven titles will matter in terms of his true meaning to this world, because it’s going to be a positive one no matter if he has seven titles or not.
In tennis I think I’m sure there are guys who are doing it, getting away with it, and getting ahead of the testers.  But, you know, I do my best to go out there and win and give myself whatever advantage I can legally in terms of just protein shakes and Gatorade and that kind of stuff.
I’ve gotta believe it’s out there at a level playing field, but I also am realistic with this much money involved, $1.9 million for the winner of the US Open, people will try to find a way to get ahead.
It’s unfortunate, but I hope tennis is doing the best job of trying to catch those guys trying to beat the system.
Q.  Along those lines, do you have any theories on Federer as a parent, fountain of youth thing going on here?
JAMES BLAKE:  The guy’s a freak.  He’s so good.  It’s really incredible.  I could spend another hour talking about the things I’m impressed with by him.  His streak of quarterfinals, most people would have that an incredible streak just to play that many slams in a row, and he has to make it make quarterfinals or better.
To do it at that level and not injure yourself is amazing.  It’s so easy to go out and roll your ankle or tear up your knee or for your back to be sore.  For him not to do that is amazing.  I think it shows how much work he probably puts in stretching, getting his body strong enough and physically ready to play all these slams.
You know, he has the luxury of being able to pick and choose his tournaments.  He obviously is pretty comfortable with his ranking and where he’s sitting not needing to worry about that, but it’s still really, really impressive.  He focuses on the big picture and is always ready for these slams.
I need to worry about one match at a time.  I can’t worry about quarters or semis or finals right now.
I’m still kind of scratching to get through these matches and get my confidence back and feel like I’m ready to compete.  I don’t think that will change if I’m playing someone that’s 1, 2, or 3 in the world.
I have been fortunate enough.  I am an elder statesman.  I have been around and have won a lot of matches.  I have beaten guys 1 in the world, I’ve beaten guys that are top 3, top 4, top 5 plenty of times.  There is no reason for me to go out there and play one of those guys and be scared.
I think it will take an unbelievable effort.  I will have to play my best tennis.
Q.  First round do you worry too much about your performance or is it just a case of trying to get through?
ANDY MURRAY:  I won in three sets.  You know, I didn’t serve very well.  Only lost seven games in three sets, so I must have done something well today.
Bogomolov, you know, I think he was seeded here last year.  He made the third round.  He plays his best tennis on the hard courts.  He’s a tough player.
So, I mean, I played fairly well from the back of the court.  I just would have liked to have served a bit better because, you know, I wasn’t getting many free points on my serve.
Because of that, there were a lot more rallies.  When he’s in a rhythm, he’s tough to break down.
 
Q.  I meant more in general in first‑round matches do you worry too much about your performance?
ANDY MURRAY:  No.  I mean, sometimes I play great at the start of tournaments and not done well; sometimes I’ve played badly and got better.
I mean, in Australia this year I struggled in my first‑round match with my game a bit.  Physically didn’t feel great.  Then went on to have a good tournament.
You know, the first‑round matches are tricky.  Like I say, the conditions were hard today for both of us.  That’s probably why it was quite an up‑and‑down match.
Q.  Do the other players see Andy Murray differently now that he’s won the Olympics or does it not compare to a Grand Slam?
IVAN DODIG:  No, I think is for me like these four players, everybody can beat everybody.  Of course with these Olympics he showed that he’s ready for big things, so we will see.
Everybody exciting about him.

Q.  Are you working with Mark Knowles here?  You guys in a lot of ways are peers.

MARDY FISH:  He’s like 20 years older than me (laughter).  Just kidding.

No, he’s helped me a ton.  Maybe none more evident than tonight when I lost my serve in both of those sets to serve it out and still was able to mentally focus back and realize that, you know, I haven’t just lost the set, he’s just gotten even in the set so there’s still opportunities to win the set.

In times past maybe I would have struggled with that scenario, especially twice in a row.  And that’s hard.  Any time you lose one of those two sets, you’re in a dogfight.  I knew that if I did win that second set, that was going to be a big, big factor in the match.

I mean, that’s a long way back for him after two hours of pretty physical tennis.  It’s pretty humid out there.  Not necessarily the heat, but the humidity.  You could feel it.  It’s pretty humid.  That was pretty physical.

So that was a long way back for him, so obviously felt good to win that.

 

Q.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how good was your serve today, knowing what you can do on a good day?

JACK SOCK:  I think my second serve was a 9.63.  I think my first serve was pretty good.  I mean, when I missed the first serve, I think my second serve really helped me.  I was able to start off the point ahead even with the second serve.

When I think I was down a game, my serve was a 10 coming up big on some points where I was down or some games where I was down.

Q.  A lot of Europeans want to win Roland Garros or Wimbledon; for many Americans it’s winning the US Open or becoming No. 1.  If I recall correctly, you said your goal for your career is to make friends.  Could you to talk about that.

KIM CLIJSTERS:  I don’t think I said it that way.  Obviously my goal in my career was obviously to be the best tennis player that I can be, but at the same time not be, you know, antisocial and not spend 15 years on tour, and when you step away from the sport not having any friends at the end of the day.

I think, you know, it’s not like I started on tour when I was 25 and I built up kind of a normal friendship base when I was home.  My friends were girls from tour.  You know, I have a few friends at home, but I think a lot of the girls I was close with, a lot of the girls, we went through puberty together, boyfriends on tour, and I think it’s something that we shared and talked about.

I don’t like to be on tour and not talking to players or not knowing kind of what’s behind the tennis player.  It’s not like it was the most important thing because I was here to play tennis, and still am.  But at the same time, there’s a place for work and focus and at the other times there is the social part.

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Clijsters, Federer Victorious in US Open Night Session

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Kim Clijsters and Roger Federer both stopped young Americans on Opening Night at the 2012 US Open.

Clijsters, after an inconsistent start, held herself together to dispatch 16-year-old Victoria Duval 6-3, 6-1 while Federer pushed back Donald Young 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

“The U.S. Open, for me, was always, I don’t want to say easy, but very natural and I’ve always looked forward to it in a big way,” Federer said in his quest for a record sixth US Open title in the Open Era.

“It’s a place that brings out the best in me,” Federer said.

Young who had a 17-match losing streak earlier in the year,  saw his 2012 record fall to 3-22.

Duval who received wild-card by virtue of winning the  National Girls’ 18 and under  championship event in San Diego earlier in the summer, is ranked 562nd in the world. This was her first WTA tour-level match – a debut at a major on Opening Night.

“I was freaking out,” said effervescent Duval.

Clijsters herself said she was nervous “It was a special occasion. … I was nervous, maybe almost as much as she was,” Clijsters said.

“I was just excited to be out there and to have, you know, the opportunity to play in this kind of condition, prime time.

“You know, a night match, it’s always a very special occasion.  The energy, when you step out on court also after the opening show, the stadium was almost full.  So it was a lot of fun to go out there.

“But, you know, still a bit nervous, too.”

Duval grew up from some difficult circumstances. She  was born in Florida and grew up in Haiti and as child was taken hostage by robbers along with her cousins. In 2010, her father was injured in Haiti’s earthquake, buried under rubble but survived his injuries.

She feels that her life has helped her tennis: “It helped my tennis in the sense that in those circumstances, we were just saying: No matter how tough things get, you’re always going to get out of it.’ So in my tennis, that’s basically what I’ve been living by, no matter how down and out I am, I can get out of it.”

A giggling Duval said that Clijsters snapped a photo with Duval in the locker room  after the match.

“I thought that was so nice, because I was the one that should be begging her for a picture,” said a joyful Duval said. “She’s definitely my idol.”

Clijsters, a three-time US Open Champion is playing her last US Open. She’s retiring again at the end of the year. She had previously retired in 2007. She has won 22 straight US Open matches.

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

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Clijsters calls Serena Williams the “Best Ever”

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY -  In a pre-tounament  US Open news conference Kim Clijsters called Serena Williams the “best ever.”

“I mean, to me Serena is the best ever just because I think physically she just stands out,” said the Belgian playing in her last US Open.

“When she’s in good shape I think she just stands out tremendously.  I mean, you know, she’s fast, she’s strong, she has a very good eye, as well.  I think the combination of that is ‑‑ I mean, what we have seen over the last few months is the best player ever.”

Clijsters spoke to media about Serena being an inspiring figure.

“Every day there is people that inspire me just by whether it’s, you know, seeing a mother on TV or seeing ‑‑ reading a story in the paper,”Clijsters said. “

“Serena’s is one of those, as well, what she’s been through.  Not just with, you know, the health problems, but dealing with the loss of their sister and all those kinds of things.

“It’s not just one thing.  We sit here and do our press conferences, but we have a personal life, too.  That’s something that’s maybe not always ‑‑ you know, on the court everything always looks great and perfect, but it’s not always that way.

“I think it’s great to have, you know, big names like that and open up about it and be role models, as well.”

In her news conference later Serena Williams was questioned about Clijsters comment.

“I never think about that, Williams said.  “I can’t sit here and say I’m the best ever.  I’m not.  I’m not worthy of that title.  I’m just Serena.  I love playing tennis and I’m good at it.  Just because I’m good at it doesn’t make me the best.

“I think Kim, you know, she’s had such a fabulous career, especially here at the Open.  She just brings some special tennis.  She’s always so bright and has such a positiveness about her that you can’t help but wish her the best.”

Sister Venus was also asked about Clijsters’ comment about Serena: She’s amazing,  I think when she’s playing great and feeling confident ‑ even when she isn’t ‑ it still takes a hurricane to beat her.  You have to be on your best tennis and basically make no errors.  I think her record speaks for what an amazing player she is.

Clijsters is looking forward to her final US Open.

“I’m excited,” Clijsters said.  “I’m obviously very excited to be back here after not being able to participate last year due to an injury in my stomach muscle.  I’m really excited to be here.

“You know, obviously this place is magical for me.  I have had so many beautiful memories.  I have enjoyed coming here from when I was a junior.

“You know, I love the surface, I love the atmosphere, and I’m excited.  I’m not really thinking about retiring yet, you know.  I’m still focusing on trying to, you know, be in the best shape that I can be.

“You know, when I start Monday I want to be playing well.  I’m focusing on that for now.”

Clijsters plays her first match at the US Open on Monday. She’ll play the first night session match versus young American Victoria Duval.

Karen Pestaina is covering the US Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Lisicki upsets Sharapova, Kerber Clobbers Clijsters

Sabine Lisicki

WIMBLEDON -  No Wimbledon title for Maria Sharapova this year.  The current No. 1 who will lose her top ranking next week was dominated by Germany’s Sabine Liscki 6-4, 6-3 in a fourth round encounter on Monday.

“Yeah, certainly had chances,” Sharapova said. “I didn’t take them.  But I think I a lot of the credit goes to my opponent.  She played extremely well today and did many things better than I did on this given day.  You just have to hand it to her.”

“She did many things much better than I did today,” said the Russian.  “Of course, could have done things differently, absolutely, but not on this particular day.”

“I felt great,” said a beaming Lisicki.  “I had a great practice yesterday evening and felt good this morning.  As soon as I stepped on the court I also felt like I’m playing very well, so, you know, I was feeling very confident ‑ even though I lost the first game.

“I just missed a couple of points here and there, but overall I just felt very good and confident.”

 

The German continued: “Well, I felt very good even in the start of the first set already.  I felt like I’m hitting the balls very clean.  I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  When I took the first set, it obviously gives you another lift, more confidence.

“Well, I knew as soon as I got the break in the second set, I knew I’m going to take it home.”

Lisicki has performed the unique feat of beating the reigning French Open champion at three Wimbledons – 2009 Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2011 Li Na and now Sharapova.

“It feels amazing,” said the German. “I mean, she won the French Open.  Actually, that’s a good omen for me, because I’ve beaten the French Open champion three times here.  In ’09 I beat Kuznetsova, last year Na Li, and this year Maria.  I guess they shouldn’t be in my part of the draw.”

 

“I enjoy the sport.  I just love playing tennis and I love being out there, especially at my favorite tournament.

“So, you know, I just have fun out there.  I mean, I know I missed the shot by a little, but I was going for the right one, so there’s nothing to be mad about.”

 

In her final Wimbledon match a soon-to-be retired Kim Clijsters was destroyed 6-1, 6-1 by Lisicki’s countrywoman Angelique Kerber.

“I know that actually maybe her last Wimbledon, but I was going out there and know before the match that I need to play very good to beat her,” said Kerber.

“I think I do a good job today, so, I mean, I’m very happy to be in the quarters right now.”

“I just had the feeling that there was absolutely nothing I could have done today to have won that match, said Clijsters. You know, I just felt, like, my opponent was better on every level.  You know, that’s all I was thinking about.

“I won’t be sorry about anything, Clijsters on her impending retirement at the end of the year.  “I mean, I know that every time that I’ve played here I’ve given my best, and that’s the only thing that I can try.  You know, some days it’s good, some days it’s great, and some days it’s not good enough.

“And that’s something that I’ll never regret.  I’ll never say that I didn’t work hard enough or I didn’t practice hard enough.

“So I don’t think I’ll feel sorry about anything when I leave.”

Clijsters spoke about her special memories at Wimbledon: It obviously all started I think from when I was a youngster, being at home even before I was a junior watching Wimbledon during summer holidays from Belgium, watching it on TV.  You just kind of felt the magic coming through the television, I think.  So that was kind of my first connection with Wimbledon.

“And then as I got older, when I was able to be here for the first time as a junior, it was just very special.  I mean, I think the first year that I played here, I was here just to take it all in.  I don’t even think I was here to play tennis.  I needed to just open my eyes and look at everything.

“It’s so new.  It was such, you know, an amazing thing.  It was like to me this was like Disneyland to another child.  So it was such a beautiful thing.

“So, yeah, I think the next year or the year after I was able to make the finals here in juniors, and that was a very special moment.  I was able to go to the championship ball.  Won doubles here.

“So I have a lot of good memories, a lot of special memories also emotionally with my family and my with my dad.  Yeah, it’s a nice place to go back to every year.

Kerber will play Lisicki in an all-German battle for a semifinal spot.

“I mean, for sure it will not be easy match against Sabine, said Kerber.  “She beat Maria today.  I know she play very well on grass.

“I mean, I said before the tournament I will look round to round, and now she is the next round.  It’s good for Germans to have two players in the quarters and one of us in the semis.

“So, I mean, it will be a good match, I think, and I will try just to focus on me and try to do my thing on the court.  We will see who will win the match.”

 

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Clijsters to Retire Again After US Open

Former world No 1 and three-time US Open winner Kim Clijsters is calling it a career after the US Open this year. The 28-year-old Belgium had previously announced that this would be her final season.

At a news conference Clijsters told media, “As it stands I will end my career at the US Open, That is where I enjoyed my greatest triumphs and it is a very special place for me.”

“The stadium is only about 45 minutes away from our house in the United States and my parents-in-law will be able to be present.”

Clijsters first retired back in 2007 due to injuries and pregnancy, but came back to tennis in 2009.

 

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