Kim Clijsters Biography
Kim Clijsters (Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters) is a Belgian former professional tennis player born on 8th June 1983 in Bilzen, Belgium. She is a former world No. 1 in both singles and doubles tennis.
Kim Clijsters Age
Kim was born on 8th June 1983 in Bilzen, Belgium (35 years as of 2018). She is the daughter of Lei Clijsters and Els Vandecaetsbeek, both of whom were accomplished athletes. Kim’s mother Els was a Belgian national artistic gymnastics champion.
Kim’s father Lei was a professional football defender who played for a variety of clubs in the top-flight Belgian First Division, including KV Mechelen with whom he won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1988. Her father was also a member of the Belgium national football team, tallying 40 caps and competing in two World Cups.
She credits her parents for giving her a footballer’s legs and a gymnast’s flexibility. Kim also attributes her success to the freedom they gave her when she was a young player, saying, “Without the support I’ve had from my family, I wouldn’t be where I am. They’ve let me make my own decisions.”
When she was five years old, her father built a clay tennis court at their home as a gift to his daughter to celebrate him winning the 1988 Gouden Schoen, an award given to the player of the year in the Belgian First Division. Her father had previously announced the idea of the gift as a celebration of the award during a television interview.
Kim Clijsters Net worth
She has an estimated net worth of $20 million dollars. She had success at both the national and international levels at a very young age. In 1993, she won the 12-and-under division of the Belgian Junior Championships (the Coupe de Borman) in doubles with her future longtime rival Justine Henin. She has amassed her wealth from the many matches she has played.
Kim Clijsters Family
Kim Clijsters was born in the Flemish Region of Belgium. She is the daughter of Lei Clijsters, a former international footballer, and Els Vandecaetsbeek, a former national gymnastics champion. Lei Clijsters died of lung cancer on 4 January 2009. Kim’s younger sister Elke finished 2002 as the ITF World Junior Doubles champion but retired in 2004 after back injuries.
Kim Clijsters Husband
In December 2003, Kim Clijsters announced her engagement to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, but their relationship ended in October 2004.
In October 2006, Clijsters announced her engagement to American basketball player Brian Lynch, who was then playing for Euphony Bree in Clijsters’ hometown of Bree. Clijsters and Lynch married privately on 13 July 2007, at 6 am at the Bree city hall. They were married by the mayor, with sister Elke, Lynch’s brother Pat Lynch, and both sets of parents present.
Kim Clijsters Children
Kim and her husband have three children: a daughter, Jada Elle, born on 27 February 2008, a son, Jack Leon Lynch born on 18 September 2013 and a son, Blake Richard Lynch born in October 2016.
Tennis Player Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters started playing tennis at age five with her cousins, and her parents took her to watch matches around Europe. Her favorite tennis player growing up was Steffi Graf. She was an accomplished junior player. In singles, she finished as runner-up in the 1998 Wimbledon junior event, finishing 11th in the year-end singles ranking. In the same year in doubles, Clijsters won the French Open title with Jelena Dokić, defeating Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova in the final, as well as the US Open with Eva Dyrberg. Clijsters ended the season as no. 4 in the International Tennis Federation junior doubles world ranking.
In 1999, Kim Clijsters made her breakthrough professionally. She qualified for her first WTA tournament in Antwerp but lost in the quarterfinal. She also reached the doubles quarterfinals of the same event with India’s Nirupama Vaidyanathan. At the end of the year, she was granted the WTA Most Impressive Newcomer award, the only Belgian player to have received this trophy.
In 2001, she reached her first Tier I final at the tournament in Indian Wells, California, losing to Serena Williams in a match overshadowed by controversy. Clijsters also reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati. At the end of 2002, when she won the year-end Home Depot Championships in Los Angeles, defeating top-ranked Serena Williams in the final. On her way to the final, Clijsters defeated fourth-ranked Justine Henin and second-ranked Venus Williams, becoming just the fourth player to beat both of the Williams sisters in the same event.
In 2003 Clijsters started her season at the Adidas International, where she won her first tournament of the year. She reached the final after defeating Patty Schnyder, Chanda Rubin and Justine Henin. Clijsters’ third title of the year came at the Telecom Italia Masters in Rome, where she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final. At the French Open, Clijsters reached the final for the second time in three years, after defeating Nadia Petrova.
Clijsters won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2005, after having reached four Grand Slam finals previously. By winning the US Open Series Clijsters doubled her US$1.1 million in prize money she received for winning the US Open, to US$2.2 million.
2007 was to be Clijsters’ final year on tour, as she had planned in 2005 to retire at the end of the 2007 season. She started the year by winning an exhibition tournament, the Watson Water Challenge, in Hong Kong. She then won the Medibank International in Sydney, defeating Nicole Pratt, Shahar Pe’er, Li Na, and Jelena Janković to claim the title, after being match point down in the final.
Kim Clijsters next played in Belgium at the Proximus Diamond Games, after pulling out of the Open Gaz de France with a hip injury. She reached the final without dropping a set, though she lost. In her first clay tournament of the year in Warsaw, Clijsters failed to defend her title, when she lost to Julia Vakulenko. On 6 May 2007, citing injuries, Clijsters announced on her official website that she was cutting short her season and bringing forward her plans to retire from professional tennis.
Almost two years after her retirement and one year after the birth of her daughter in February 2008, it was announced that Clijsters, along with Tim Henman, Steffi Graf, and Andre Agassi, would play an exhibition event on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in May, in order to test the new roof.
In 2009, she came back and won her 2nd slam title. In March 2010, Clijsters won the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year. She also won the WTA Comeback Player of the Year and the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award for the seventh time. Clijsters started her 2010 campaign at the Brisbane International in Australia as the top seed. In the same year she collected another grand slam title to make them three grand slam titles.
On New Year’s Day(2010), Clijsters defeated world No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, in an exhibition match at the World Tennis Invitation in Thailand.
She began her 2012 season at the Brisbane International. She was leading in the first round and comfortably won her quarterfinal match. She comfortably won her quarterfinal match, however, Clijsters received a medical timeout for a hip spasm. She played only one game afterward, retiring to hand the match to Hantuchová. She officially retired on 2 September 2012.
Kim Clijsters competed at the Diamond Games in December 2012, dubbed the ‘Kim’s Thank You Games’, as a ceremonial farewell in her native Belgium. In December 2013 at the Kim Clijsters Invitational (Diamond Games) at the Antwerp Sports Palace in Belgium, former and current tennis stars took part in some singles and mixed doubles exhibition matches. Kim and Xavier Malisse were victorious over Kirsten Flipkens and Henri Leconte in mixed doubles.
Clijsters competed in the Women’s Legends Doubles event at the 2014 French Open in June 2014 alongside Martina Navratilova as her partner. They won the doubles event defeating Nathalie Dechy and Sandrine Testud.
Kim Clijsters served in 2014 as Tournament Director for the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, which had been previously played as a tournament and then as an exhibition.
In July 2017 Clijsters participated in the Ladies’ Invitation Doubles match at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships with Rennae Stubbs, playing against Andrea Jaeger and Conchita Martinez. Clijsters and Stubbs later won the match 6–2 7–5.
On 22 July 2017, Clijsters was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
Kim Clijsters Serena Williams
In September 2009 during the US Open 2009 Serena Wiliams lost to Kim Clijsters after she received a point penalty for intimidating a line judge by allegedly telling her: “I swear to God, I’m f—— going to take this f—— ball and shove it down your f—— throat, you hear that? I swear to God.” This helped Clijsters to go through to the finals where she played Caroline Wozniacki, a teenager from Denmark.
Kim Clijsters Academy
The Kim Clijsters Academy (KCA) is located in the city of Bree, Belgium. The academy is the perfect place for every young aspiring tennis player to reach his or her goals in professional tennis. Each player is important for the academy and the objective is to get the maximum out of every player.
The facility offers 8 indoor courts and 10 outdoor red clay courts. Under the guidance of her former fitness coach and osteopath Sam Verslegers there is a whole team of therapists available including acupuncturist, dentist , physiotherapy, massage etc… This holistic approach makes sure that every athlete can perform at his/her optimal level!
Kim Clijsters Hall of Fame Speech
Kim Clijsters Twitter
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Kim Clijsters Interview About The Ups an Downs of Retirement Among Other Things.
Is it nice being able to have that life on a farm with the kids, having it be very separate from Brian’s work or your time playing on the tour every few months?
Kim Clisters: When I retired, you know, you have your children and it’s all pretty new. The life is new and Brian’s work and his kind of career [was new]. He was on tour traveling with me when he wasn’t playing basketball anymore, and he started getting his coach’s diplomas and everything. It kind of came naturally, life after tennis. It became pretty easy immediately after I stopped playing. I had the children and I enjoyed being home a little bit more and then just like every family you have to find your balance. And the balance shifts at times and you just have to maintain a good balance and that’s what we also try to do.
Brian is now the head coach of a big Belgian first division team and is away a little bit more so the balance has changed a little bit, but I enjoy it. I was at Wimbledon for two weeks working. I enjoy that balance, and playing Legends. But then again, two weeks I’ve noticed is long and especially now with the US Open it’s the start of the school year and the kids are going to school and so there’s always little battles as a woman and a wife and a mother.
Jada went on tour with you when you came back, there’s, of course, the pictures after you won the US Open in Times Square. Does she remember anything from being with you, and do the boys understand who you were in tennis or is now just “mom’s traveling again for a few weeks”?
They don’t really understand. Jada doesn’t remember much besides photos or videos that she has from back in the day when we showed her little things that we did with her. So she doesn’t remember a lot of it. They know when I go to work, like when I go to the French Open or when I go to Wimbledon. But it hasn’t happened that much. I think this has been the third or fourth Legends tournament that I’ve played so I haven’t been away that much in the last couple of years. They’re used to me being at home and working at the academy throughout the day when they’re in school and just being there every day. I pick them up at school and drive them to their hobbies and cook dinner and that’s something that I enjoy but I also need the challenges a little bit besides the children. You know, my own goals.
I’ve heard some anecdotes about Jada playing basketball and being quite good. Is it nice, as they grow up, having sports being a unifying thing in the household with you and Brian both being former pro athletes?
[Jada] tried tennis as well but you could just see from the start that it did not interest her at all. She wanted to do it, she’s the one who asked to play, so I signed her up at the academy. I didn’t even hit with her. I just wanted a separate coach to do it, and her to have friends she was playing with. But after watching you could see she wasn’t interested. She had good hand-eye coordination, she’s strong, she’s athletic, but you could see mentally she just didn’t like it.
Then when she got into basketball — I think she was four or five when you’re allowed to start — she was running around, diving to catch balls. The effort was night and day from tennis. So it was very easy for us to navigate, very clear where her passion or her lovelies at the moment and she kind of went that way.
Sports are important and I think both Brian and myself know in our upbringing how important it was. Not just to be a great athlete but to have sports as a social part of your life as well. I think maybe more so in tennis. It’s a sport that requires discipline, dedication, respect. You learn tennis etiquette as a young girl and it kind of crosses over into your daily life as well.
So I think it’s important. I enjoy seeing the kids, when we go to dinner at the restaurant at the academy, they run around and they’re playing and they hang out together.I think it’s the social life that is more important for the kids than results why. Of course, we do teach them that they do have to be disciplined and they do have to treat it the right way, but the boys like to play tennis and it’s great to have that be a part of our lives.
If you give kids enough options to search what they like then I think they will show you where they want to go. And that’s been the case with Jada, she’s now doing a camp here in New Jersey and she loves it. When you see that passion is there you can only support that. Probably my favorite part of upbringing is teaching her the things that I dealt with when I was her age.
Dealing with pressure a little bit. How do I prepare myself? How do I cool down after four to five days of camp? Teaching them new things or your things, the passion that you had for sports. And it doesn’t matter that it was a different sport because at the end of the day the basics are the same. And that’s been a lot of fun for us.
She’s also getting a little bit older, she’s ten now and we can have good conversations with her and she understands. Stubborn at times too but she likes to learn and become better.
Sometimes being a little stubborn is good.
[Laughs] Yeah, yeah for sure.
You play in the Legends Draw a few weeks at a time in the Slams, against people like Amelie Mauresmo and Martina Navratilova. How has it been playing with people from different eras in that environment?
I love it. I love it. I remember the first time I played was at the French Open. I remember I got paired off with Martina Navratilova and I was like “Wow! This is great.” I think she’s the player who’s been retired for the longest time I think, or the oldest in the group. But the way that she prepares herself, the way that she trains, the way that she talks about tennis and about things she’s passionate about is … I mean not just as a tennis player but as another woman you’re able to just learn so much from being around those women who have so much more experience already than you do and I love it.
I have to say when I played my first Legends I thought it was very relaxed and easygoing, you know for fun. I get to see a lot of players again, I get to see people who work for the WTA tour, the physios in the locker room. It was nice after four or five years to see a few of them again but then you do realize we have that competitiveness in us and we want to show good tennis. We want to show that we’re capable of hitting a good ball. I think maybe we don’t move as good as we used to but we’re still in it.
When you see Navratilova hit her volleys or I played with Nathalie Tauziat at the French Open this year. The way she hits her volleys, the way she’s able to come in on her return, it’s so amazing and it’s still very, very good. Those are unique things that a lot of players these days don’t even have anymore and that’s nice to see. I enjoy being a part of that.
We get good crowds, we’re able to entertain the crowds as well and that makes it fun. We go out to dinner at night. There are a couple of organized events throughout the tournament where we all hang out together all the men and women combined, and you’re able to talk to each other a little bit more than tennis talk. You talk about more personal, private things and the families and seeing what everybody’s up to. It’s nice to catch up outside of the competition and the pressure that you’re under as an athlete when you’re playing big tournaments.
Although you were rivals for so many years, there’s not a lot of people who understand the life that we had. I realized when I came home, when I stopped playing that there’s not a lot of people who can relate to the life that you had. You don’t share a lot of the same kind of situations, and it’s very extreme at times. There can be a lot of highs but also very low lows, and it’s different than a lot of people who have their daily life in an 8 to 5 kind of job. So at times it can be a little challenging to find your way I think, but that’s why it’s super nice when I’m able to talk to Lindsay Davenport and catch up and see how she’s doing and see who’s taking care of the kids when she’s working for television.
Is Lindsay one of the former players you’re closest with?
Lindsay was the person I called before I decided I was going to go back on tour. I spoke to her and asked her what it was like traveling again with the kids and how the WTA … you know what the rules are and it was just a nice talk. And it was something I will always be grateful for that she took the time to share her situation. When or if the roles would be reversed, if someone wants to talk to me I’m always open to give my opinion or my side of how things worked or which things didn’t work for us. I think it’s so rare to find somebody who can relate to our situation.
Was there anything that was unexpected with how hard it was or anything you would change looking back? When you came back did you go “Oh, that was harder than I expected”?
Both Brian and I are pretty laid back parents which I think helps very much. I think if you are a person who wants to be in control all the time with what’s going on then it can cause a lot of instability. I’ve showed up where the rooms didn’t turn out the way the reservation was made or the way the hotel booked it then. Jada slept in the bathtub with her crib. Stuff like that.
Just making it work.
You have to try to make it work and not take it all too seriously. I feel lucky because I think we both come from very well-rounded people and to me nobody needs to treat me differently because I was a tennis player or because I’m famous. That is not at all how we stand in life. But I’ve seen it completely different, obviously certain players almost demand respect. A lot of times I have a hard time feeling that or being around it and so you have to be open. You have to be able to adjust and sometimes there is frustration about your daughter and about your child. It can be a little bit frustrating but you try to make the best out of it. There’s no point in getting stressed about things that aren’t really in your control.
What I probably didn’t expect at times was the emotional side of it all. As a tennis player you only have to worry about yourself. If you’re tired you can cancel a practice and you can rest in the hotel, put your feet up or go get a massage. You really just have to listen to yourself. Once there’s a child involved it doesn’t work like that. We traveled with a nanny but I was still very much involved. I was there when I wasn’t practicing. Jada didn’t always sleep in our room, especially not at the Grand Slams, but I was there for breakfast. I was there when I could.
It’s that balance of the guilty feeling that I sometimes had of leaving home to go to practice and they come to an age where I remember her crying at our back door and she was really overdramatizing in a way. For her it was the first time like “mommy is leaving” and it broke my heart, and I felt so guilty as a mother that I was doing that for tennis but that’s also because I was a first time mother. If that happened now with our third child I’d react to it completely different. It doesn’t impact me as much, doesn’t influence me as much as it used to with the first one.
You take it very personally, but you learn. My hunger for tennis and my passion was a lot higher than before I had Jada. Because if I didn’t have that then why would I try to come back? Why would I put myself through all the hard work and the physical issues? But the passion was there and when that feeling is inside it’s tough to get rid of. I didn’t tell anybody for a while because I wanted to see if it was something that was a temporary thing because I was able to enjoy playing tennis again and I was getting fitter. But that passion grew stronger and I was kind of able to build on that passion for a few years and have some of my best results in my career.
There’s a lot of moms on tour right now and it seems like more players are planning to definitely come back after giving birth than 10 years or 20 years ago. Saying “no I’m just going to start a family and keep playing and it’s not going to be a big deal.” With that, there’s been a lot of conversations about protected rankings and support from the tour when they’re traveling with children. Between Victoria Azarenka and her child and Serena Williams and her child and others.
Did you feel like the tour could have done more for you, or that there should be some sort of ranking compromise for mothers coming back from maternity leave?
I never thought about it until the Serena situation came up. I never thought about it! I was very grateful that I was already given a wild card to enter the US Open. Because, to me, I didn’t feel like I deserved that because I didn’t want to take that away from other players who earned that spot.
I’ve heard different situations. I know the WTA and the tournaments — the Grand Slams — are trying. To me the most important thing is that they’re all on the same page. Serena didn’t know if she was going to be seeded at the French Open. Is she going to be seeded at Wimbledon? Wimbledon said yes, the US Open has said yes she’s going to, the French Open didn’t. Just be all on the same page so it’s clear. So that there’s one rule.
There’s already a lot of benefits as a past number one player, as a past Slam champion. Obviously Serena is a different story, I’m not comparing myself to Serena at all results-wise. But when you look at the rules there are already rules that say when you’re a past Grand Slam champion, when you’re a past number one player, you can request as many Wild Cards as you want. There’s already a lot of advantages that other players don’t have. But in this situation Serena is Serena, and I also understand that Serena creates a buzz when she gets to the tournament and tournaments, tournament directors, and especially sponsors love to have her there. So I get that to have her in the tournament longer is an option if she’s seeded.
But [sighs]… I don’t know. I know that the WTA is working on it. I’ve heard situations where I’ve said “yeah you make a point there.” I’ve heard people say maybe you start by giving a seeded ranking again after three tournaments. You get a feel for what the results are that she’s had at those three tournaments and then create it. I think it’s pretty tough to say we’re going to put somebody as a seed when they haven’t played for a long time and you don’t know what they’re like.
There’s pros and cons, they’re never going to please everybody and I can only talk from my situation. I never expected to be seeded, I never even thought about it. I know Vika talked about the fact that when she came back nobody ever talked about her being seeded. You try to do your best and you try to play your matches whether you’re playing in the third round or the first round. You try to do your best and that’s what I tried to do and what Serena’s doing but it’s not easy. There have been a lot of talks about the situation with mothers coming back, there’s a lot of ways you can look at it and I don’t have a clear sense. This is my opinion about it. The people who are in charge are trying to create a rule but it’s tough because I don’t think we’re ever going to have another Serena Williams.
I agree there.
So do we need to make a rule based on that alone? She’s seeded already, she’s going to be seeded now. She’s back in the rankings.
Could you see it as one of those conversations where she got the conversation started and it can help people like Vika or [Evgeniya] Rodina who couldn’t get the conversation started in that situation?
At the end of the day, Vika is playing good tennis again. She’s back and it takes time. Especially me, I didn’t want freebies. I didn’t even want to take my protected ranking when I was injured for a long time, when I had surgery. Everybody’s different. That’s what I’m trying to say. I’m not saying my opinion is the one that counts because every player is different and I get that the bigger picture is for upcoming players who are mothers.
By receiving Wild Cards whenever you want, as many as you want, you get into the tournaments and I believe that you also need to find your way through and show that your tennis is good enough to be back. Obviously Serena is showing that tennis. She played at Wimbledon and getting to the finals her ranking is now Top 30 I think?
Back to 27, yes.
So she’s going to be fine. One of the things that bothered me most is the fact that I hear some of the players who are on the player council talk about the fact that they weren’t even put into the conversation when the Slams were thinking about going back from 32 seeds to 16 seeds. That they weren’t even brought into the conversation. And that’s, you know …
That’s a huge change!
That is a big change. And then what do you do? There are so many rules and changes that benefits some people, that benefits players or benefits tournament directors, sponsors. And you all have to try to make it work and I think that’s the same thing with this situation. You have to try to make it work, but I think also of the players who do fight hard to become seeded and maybe one time or two times in their career might be seeded at a Grand Slam and then that maybe gets taken away from that person. So there’s a little bit of give and take here and there, you’re never going to please everybody. I think it’s great that Serena is in the spotlight as a mother and as an athlete, and showing the struggles that she’s had and that she’s open about it and I think it’s great that she’s doing that.