Kim Clijsters approaches final bow with plenty of scars


Her sunny disposition and warm smile have lit up the world's greatest tennis arenas for more than a decade, but today Kim Clijsters could play her last match at Wimbledon.

The 29-year-old Belgian will retire after this year's US Open and, unlike the last time she put away her racket, there will be no turning back.

Five years ago Clijsters left the game in order to start a family, but she was back on the court two years later. She won three of the next five Grand Slam tournaments in which she played – two US Opens and the Australian Open – but in recent times the physical stresses of the modern game have taken their toll.

Since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, Clijsters has played in only two tournaments. In the second of them, in the Netherlands last week, she was forced to withdraw before her semi-final because of an abdominal injury.

It remains to be seen how fit she will be when she faces Jelena Jankovic, the world No 21, on Court One this afternoon.

"I have no regrets, I know I always gave myself 100 per cent," Clijsters said yesterday. "I'm too old to play the game that I want to play physically. I've put my body through enough strain and everything.

"The whole lifestyle, that's what I'm dealing with now, the lifestyle I've had for the last 15, 20 years. It's been great. I wouldn't change it for a thing. I'm not going to be the type of player that's going to change the way I play or the way that I move."

Having played so few matches recently, Clijsters has dropped to No 47 in the world rankings, meaning she is unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time for 12 years.

"It will be tough," Clijsters said as she looked forward to facing Jankovic, who herself is a fellow former world No 1 player.

"We've had some tough battles in the past. I look forward to it. Not being seeded, obviously it's possible that you draw a high seed, so you have to be ready to go from the first match onwards."

Clijsters made her Wimbledon debut 13 years ago, when she lost to Steffi Graf in the fourth round, having earlier fought her way through the qualifying tournament.

She has twice reached the semi-finals. She lost to Serena Williams in 2003, having won the first set, and to her fellow Belgian Justine Henin three years later.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower