Skip to main content

Clijsters prepares for emotional grand slam farewell at U.S. Open

updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed August 22, 2012
Kim Clijsters reached the quarterfinals of her first Olympic tournament at the recent London Games.
Kim Clijsters reached the quarterfinals of her first Olympic tournament at the recent London Games.
  • The U.S. Open will be the final grand slam of Kim Clijsters' career
  • The Belgian has won at Flushing Meadows three times in the last six years
  • Clijsters took the tournament as a wildcard in 2009 after coming out of retirement
  • The 31-year-old also claimed the title in 2005 and 2010, but has struggled with injuries recently

(CNN) -- It was the scene of her first grand slam triumph in 2005 and where she roared out of retirement to complete a hat-trick of titles in 2009 and 2010.

But this year, the U.S. Open will serve as the swansong to Kim Clijsters' rollercoaster career, and the popular Belgian is aiming to bow out with a fourth Flushing Meadows crown.

"(I am) too old to play the game that I want to play physically," the 29-year-old, who initially retired from the sport to give birth to her first child in 2007, told the New York tournament's official website.

"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."

Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips
Tennis star launches candy line
Sloane Stephens: America's rising star

The former world No. 1 turned pro in 1997 and has won 41 WTA Tour titles in addition to her three U.S. Open triumphs and her 2011 success at the Australian Open.

"I think for me the most important thing is I've always followed my heart," she continued. "I've always done what I felt was right. I've always stayed true to who I am.

"Players change. There's so many other things involved than just tennis and practicing. I think you see players kind of losing the true sense of life, and of the sport."

Clijsters took the sport by storm on her return in 2009, winning the U.S. Open as a wildcard to become the first mother to take a grand slam title since Australia's Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980.

She successfully defended her title 12 months on, before adding the Australian Open to her collection just five months later, beating China's Li Na in the final.

"I didn't expect obviously when I started back after having Jada, I never expected that things would be going so well so soon," she added. "It's been an incredible adventure these last three, four years.

"I feel like I've been able to kind of finish that chapter of my tennis year on a good note."

Clijsters returned to the top of the world rankings in February last year, but her body began to let her down.

She missed Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2011 with ankle, wrist and shoulder injuries, but was fit enough to play in her first Olympic tournament at London 2012.

Silver medalist Maria Sharapova defeated Clijsters in the quarterfinals, but she is now looking forward to bringing her career to a close at an event which has provided so many happy memories.

"I have no regrets. I know I always gave myself 100 percent," she said. "The US Open will be a special occasion for me to be playing there and to end my career there. I'm sure it will be emotional."

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.