Clijsters calls it a day

'Kim Kong', 'Killing Kim', 'Kim Possible' - nicknames that somehow don't sound apt for a lady who was among the most likeable players on the tour.

updated: May 08, 2007 17:57 IST
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New Delhi:

'Kim Kong', 'Killing Kim', 'Kim Possible' - nicknames that somehow don't sound apt for a lady who was among the most likeable players on the tour; and a formidable opponent to boot.

Kim Clijsters, who retired on Saturday, will go down in history as a huge talent who only won one grand slam but still made her way to the top of the rankings and indeed into her opponents' hearts.

The current world number four won her only grand slam - the US Open in 2005. She was the runners-up in four grands and also reached six semi-finals.

Many experts felt she should have won more, but clijsters had already decided that 2007 was going to be her last season on tour. One of the reasons is personal - she wants to start a family soon after her marriage with American Basketball player Bryan Lynch this July.

The other of course was the innumerable injuries in her nine-year career and the resultant lack of will.

But all those injuries still did not stop her from winning 34 WTA titles. She ends her career with a 422-101 win-loss record. In fact, she is also one of the few women to have been the world number one in both the singles and doubles categories.

In addition to this, she has also won three WTA awards, namely the Newcomer of the Year in 1999, as well as Player of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year in 2005.

Her leap from 134th to 1st in singles over ten months that year was the fastest and biggest leap in women's tennis history.

But the one award she would have enjoyed winning the most was the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship award. It was given to her by her peers an unprecedented six out of seven years.

Amongst those peers her more famous rival was fellow Belgian Justine Henin Hardenne. In fact she lost to her in three Grand Slam Finals.

Clijsters in fact was a favourite amongst fans and in particular in Australia. The reason behind that was her affair with Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt. It was one of the most high-profile romances in the tennis world, but it ended a year after their engagement in 2003.

She announced her retirement with immediate effect after she lost to Ukrainian qualifier in Warsaw, and earned glowing tributes from her peers, who considered her the most likeable player on the tour.