For me the most important goal is the competition: wanting to win each match.
I really live from match to match. A great sports cliché, but it's the truth.


Women's tennis player Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters was born on June 8, 1983 in Bilzen, Belgium to champion Belgian football player Leo (Lei) Clijsters and artistic gymnist Els Vandecaetsbeek. The 1.74 m (5'8 1/2") 68 kg (150 lbs.) athlete started tennis at age 6 at Tennisdel in Genk. Bart Van Kerckhovan coached her from 1992 until 1996 and in 1994 Kim won the Belgian Junior National Championship at age 11.


The Early Years

In 1996, Kim joins the Flemish Tennis Federation and practices at the elite tennis training center located in Wilrijk, Antwerp. She meets coach Carl Maes who accompanies her on practice and tournaments. Carl remains her coach from 1992 until June 2002 (French Open was their last tournament together). In 1998, Kim participated in junior grand slams in which she won the Junior Girls doubles crowns at the French Open (with Jelena Dokic) and US Open (with Eva Dyberg). She became the youngest national A champion ever at age 15. Kim continued on to play four ITF circuit events (winning two, ITF/Brussels and ITF/Koksijde) and receives her first WTA ranking of 409.


Professional Debut

In 1999, Kim goes professional and debuts in the WTA tour yet loses to first seed Sarah Pitkowski of France in the quarterfinals. At Wimbledon, she defeats #10 Amanda Coetzer in the third round before losing to Steffi Graf. The US Open had her reaching the third round but she lost to Serena Williams who eventually won the championship. She won her first career title in Luxembourg by beating Dominque Van Roost and Sabine Appelmans. Her first WTA doubles title also occurred in the same year. She had advanced by 362 positions by the end of the year earning her #47 on the top 50. The WTA awarded Kim the 'most promising newcomer' for 1999.

Solid Performance

2000 saw Kim take her second career title in Hobart by defeating Chanda Rubin in the final. Dominique Van Roost exacted revenge by defeating Clijsters in the first round of the Australian Open. Kim wins another title in Leipzig beating Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario and Anna Kournikova. She reached the fourth round at Miami and Indian Wells as well as leading Belgium into the Fed Cup semi finals yet was defeated by Lindsay Davenport. Wimbledon saw Kim win her first grand slam mixed doubles final with partner and boyfriend Lleyton Hewitt. She reached the final of Filderstadt which concluded the year 2000 which had Clijsters win two titles and receive the number 18 spot on the WTA ranking. She was awarded the WTA Karen Krantzke Sportsmanship Award.

Clijsters secured her role as a household Belgian name by securing 3 titles at Stanford, Leipzig and Luxembourg. She made final appearances in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and the French Open where she passed the 1 million dollar career prize mark. She reached her first tier 1 final in Indian Wells, upsetting Martina Hingis in the semifinals. At the US Open and Wimbledon she reached the quarterfinals and a runner-up performance in Ladies Doubles with Ai Sugiyama. Clijsters moves into the top with at #7 and aids Belgium in securing its first Fed Cup title by defeating Russia in the final. Kim finished 2001 with a career high rank of #5.

In 2002, Kim began by reaching the semi-finals in Sydney and the Australian Open. She developed a debilitating shoulder injury which affected her performance. Clijsters cut down on her playing time yet was able to win the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg for her first victory over Venus Williams. She then proceeded to lose at the semifinals in Rome and finish 2nd at Stanford. Her injury may have affected her more greatly at Wimbledon and the French Open where she was eliminated in early rounds. A mutual agreement resulted in coach Carl Maes leaving his pupil who he had coached for 10 years. Kim met coach Marc DeHous who helped her to the round of 16 singles and quarterfinals in doubles. She reached the final in Tokyo, semifinals in Leipzig and won at Filderstadt. Next came a quarterfinals position in Zurich and a title at Luxembourg. She reached the Season Ending Championships in Los Angeles and stunned the crowd by defeating Serena Williams and winning the title. Her ranking jumped to #4 and for the second time in her life was awarded the WTA's Sportsmanship award.

Unstoppable

2003 saw Kim win titles in Sydney and Indian Wells as well as 2nd place in Antwerp and Scottsdale. She proceeded to make it to the semifinals at the Australian Open and a final at Miami. Her doubles court partner Ai Sugiyama helped her win three titles in Sydney, Antwerp and Scottsdale and reached the final in Indian Wells. Kim exploded on the scene and won events in Rome, Rosmalen, Stanford, Los Angeles, Filderstadt, Luxembourg and the Season Ending Championships in Los Angeles. She made two grand slam finals at the US Open and the French Open, runner up at San Diego and Berlin, and semifinals at Wimbledon. 2003 also saw Kim win her first two doubles grand slams with Ai Sugiyama on top of a tour leading 9 singles titles.

Lleyton

Kim met men's tennis player Lleyton Hewitt at the 2000 Australian Open and she visits him in his native Australia. Lleyton proposed to Clijsters during a Sydney harbor cruise a few days before Christmas 2003. Kim reacted by writing in her online diary: "Lleyton had a surprise for me! He took me out for a dinner and produced all of a sudden a ring and earrings! I was so happy I didn't know how to react." Clijsters has seperated from Lleyton Hewitt in 2004. Lleyton is planning to marry Bec Cartwright.


Statistics

As of January 18, 2004, Kim Clijsters is ranked #2 in the WTA ranking at 6373 points. Her career prize money at the end of 2002 was $3,649,280.


Grand Slam (Singles) History:

                                W-L   03    02   01   00   99
Australian Open       13-4   SF   SF    4r   1r    -
Roland Garros         14-4    F     3r     F    1r    -
Wimbledon              14-5   SF   2r   QF   2r   4r
US Open                 16-5    F    4r   QF   2r   3r


Masters History:

                               W-L    03    02   01   00   99
Singles                    12-2    W    W   SF   QF   -
Doubles                   1-1      F     -       -     -     -


Titles: 19
10/11/2003: Tour Championships
26/10/2003: Luxembourg
12/10/2003: Filderstadt
10/08/2003: Los Angeles
27/07/2003: Stanford
21/06/2003: Rosmalen
18/05/2003: Rome
16/03/2003: Indian Wells
11/01/2003: Sydney
11/11/2002: Tour Championships
27/10/2002: Luxembourg
13/10/2002: Filderstadt
05/05/2002: Hamburg
28/10/2001: Luxembourg
30/09/2001: Leipzig
29/07/2001: Stanford
05/11/2000: Leipzig
15/01/2000: Hobart
26/09/1999: Luxembourg


Finals: 13
07/09/2003: US Open
03/08/2003: San Diego
07/06/2003: Roland Garros
16/05/2003: Berlin
02/03/2003: Scottsdale
16/02/2003: Antwerp
22/09/2002: Tokyo
28/07/2002: Stanford
23/06/2001: Rosmalen
10/06/2001: Roland Garros
17/03/2001: Indian Wells
08/10/2000: Filderstadt
24/10/1999: Bratislava


Victories in Doubles: 11
19/10/2003: Zürich (Sugiyama)
03/08/2003: San Diego (Sugiyama)
06/07/2003: Wimbledon (Sugiyama)
08/06/2003: Roland Garros (Sugiyama)
02/03/2003: Scottsdale (Sugiyama)
16/02/2003: Antwerp (Sugiyama)
11/01/2003: Sydney (Sugiyama)
27/10/2002: Luxembourg (Husarova)
11/08/2002: Los Angeles (Dokic)
21/05/2000: Antwerp (Appelmans)
24/10/1999: Bratislava (Courtois)


Finals in Doubles: 9
10/11/2003: Tour Championships (Sugiyama)
11/05/2003: Berlin (Sugiyama)
16/03/2003: Indian Wells (Sugiyama)
23/09/2001: Tokyo (Sugiyama)
08/07/2001: Wimbledon (Sugiyama)
23/06/2001: 's Hertogenbosch (Oremans)
04/03/2001: Scottsdale (Shaughnessy)
05/11/2000: Leipzig (Courtois)
15/01/2000: Hobart (Molik)


Victories in Fed Cup: 1
11/11/2001 in final round in Madrid. Belgium beats Germany, Australia, Spain and Russia. Team: Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Els Callens, Laurence Courtois. Captain: Ivo Van Aken.



Other Facts:

Kim plays right-handed (two-handed backhand) using a Babolat Pure Drive racquet.

Her tennis idol is Steffi Graf.

Kim's favourite food is japanese and her favourite shopping city is New York.

She owns a pet dog named Beauty.

Enjoys listening to Live, Savage Garden and Madonna.

Her favourite movie is The Hurricane and Gladiator.

Confesses she has a 'weakness' for bags.

Appeared on Belgian television at the age of five, sitting on her father's knee.


Sources:
http://www.kimclijsters.be/
http://www.tennisrulz.com/players/clijsters/biography.htm
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/players/49
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/25/1072308633445.html
http://www.kimclijsters.co.uk/

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