13 Dec 2012

FAREWELL...

(13 DECEMBER) 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 Thank You Games' at about 7.15pm for her last match the crowd went wild.



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 game someone cheered Venus, the American was visibly pleased. With a bit of luck Venus 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 dropshots. Kim won her second service 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 before Kim served it out to take the first set 6-3 after 26 minutes.


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 Venus's serve. Hands clapped to the sound 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 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 wave started going around, with Venus and Kim joining. It became a true farewell wave. 

After 55 minutes, Venus easily won 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 more or less 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. On a double fault, it was game, set and match for Kim: 6-3 6-3 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 huge Babolat racket, 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 a professional court, although she would be back for a doubles match alongside Amélie Mauresmo, against Venus Williams and Kirsten Flipkens. (Kim and Amélie lost 5-8.)








THANK YOU KIM!


(adapted from kimclijsters.com)

2 Dec 2012

KIM WINS 8TH KK SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD!

(2 DECEMBER) The WTA Tour has revealed the 2012 WTA player awards and, for her final season on tour, Kim has been awarded the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award, recognizing professionalism, attitude and sense of fair play. This award was voted for by the WTA players themselves and it's the 8th time Kim has won it! What a nice tribute from Kim's peers...

29 Oct 2012

KIM'S THANK YOU GAMES

(29 OCTOBER) Hello everyone! Long time, no post but we're now slowly getting closer to Kim's farewell night, the Kim's Thank You Games which will take place on 12 December 2012 in Antwerp. So here's some more information for you...

Kim's opponent has just been revealed and it will be no one less than... Venus Williams. The American has a special relationship with the Antwerp Sportpaleis where she won 2 Diamond Games titles in the past (out of four appearances). This is what she had to say: 'This is a very special moment for me. I was in Antwerp already at the first edition of the Diamond Games in 2002. I'm always very happy to play here, the audience is incredible. It is an honour to be able to play against Kim in her last match. I am really looking forward to it and am very pleased with the invitation!'

After the match, there will be a one-hour farewell show, followed by some more tennis action, as Kim gets back onto court to play a doubles match. Kim will pair up with former World No.1 Amélie Mauresmo to face Venus Williams and Kirsten Flipkens!

There are currently hardly 3000 (of the 13,000) tickets left available. Should you still want to be part of this special event, then book now via www.thankyougames.be or via telephone (+32 70 345 345).

2 Sep 2012

US OPEN • KIM AND BOB BRYAN OUT OF MIXED DOUBLES

(2 SEPTEMBER) So this is really it. Kim has just played her very last professional tennis match, as she and Bob Bryan have lost their US Open mixed doubles 2nd round to Makarova/Soares 2-6 6-3 10-12.


'It's surprising that I kept it dry, I haven't been crying', Kim said. 'I think that's just another sign that it's the right choice.'

Kim, a four-time Grand Slam champion, announced months ago the U.S. Open would be her last tournament. She lost to British teen Laura Robson in the women's singles 2nd round on Wednesday, snapping a 22-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows, where the Belgian won titles in 2005, 2009 and 2010.

Kim and Kirsten Flipkens then lost in the 1st round of women's doubles on Thursday.

The mixed doubles loss pulled down the curtain on the 29-year-old Belgian's career. It came with her husband, Brian Lynch, watching from the stands with their 4-year-old daughter, Jada, in his lap playing with a stuffed animal.


When it was over, security guards worked hard to clear a path from the court to the locker room, as Kim was swarmed by TV cameras, autograph seekers and other fans -- all trying to grab one more memory from a player whose smile and positive attitude spoke as loudly as her game.

'You can feel the fans', Bob Bryan said. 'But the people in the locker room, when they love you and they respect you that much, that's true character. That's what Kim has.'

Kim said even though she gave it her all for the match, she couldn't feign heartbreak over her latest (and last) loss.

'Do you want me to say I'm shattered that we lost?' she said, in jest, to Bryan.

If she couldn't go out a winner, at least she can say she was part of an entertaining show.

She and Bryan saved four match points in the super-tiebreaker used to decide the match and Kim hit the key shots on all those points. The best was a looping crosscourt, backhand lob that nobody could touch. It made the score 10-10 and Clijsters pumped both fists and shouted her trademark 'Come oooon!'

'I just didn't want to miss or hit a bad shot on match point and let that be my last professional point ever', she said. 'I wanted to go for it. Luckily, it worked a couple times.'

The last shot came on a serve Makarova sliced into her body. Kim couldn't handle it. The crowd groaned. Then cheered while the former World No. 1 and Bryan hugged.


'Life goes on', Kim said in an on-court interview. 'I'm getting older. I've had a few injuries. It doesn't mean I don't love the sport. That's one of the reasons I wanted to come out here and play mixed.'

Bryan, who has 11 Grand Slam doubles titles with his brother, Mike, said regardless of whether they get No. 12 next weekend, the chance to play with Kim 'really is the highlight of the tournament.'

Soares agreed. He and Makarova have combined to oust Kim, both Bryan brothers and Lisa Raymond, who has 11 Grand Slam doubles titles to her name, on back-to-back nights.

'But to be honest, it came to a moment where winning or losing was just a small part of the whole thing tonight', Soares said. 'It was just so nice, so fulfilling to be playing that match. I was happy either way.'

Kim was, too.

'I had a great night', she said. 'And I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish here.'

Kim will spend a few more days in New York before flying back to Belgium.

adapted from www.espn.com

1 Sep 2012

US OPEN • KIM AND BOB WIN OPENER

(1 SEPTEMBER) Kim's last tournament is not over just yet as she and Bob Bryan have got through the 1st round of the US Open mixed doubles, defeating wildcards Falconi/Johnson in straight sets 6-2 6-2.



In the 2nd round the Belgian-American duo will face the pair Makarova/Soares, who have defeated No. 2 seeds Raymond/M. Bryan in their opener.

This match should be the last one on Grandstand and should not start before 3.30 pm, local time. It might however be moved to Arthur Ashe Stadium.