© Ella Ling

Wimbledon - Kim Clijsters

Clijsters coach exclusive: "Kim has the cuddly factor"


Exclusive interview with Kim Clijsters’s coach, Carl Maes. He has told The Tennis Space that Clijsters, who will retire after the US Open, “is much loved in tennis – that’s partly because she’s a mother but also because she has the cuddly factor”.  “She will hopefully be remembered for being a nice person. If you look back at the last ten world number ones, Kim is probably the most approachable.”

Should we expect an emotional end to Kim’s career in New York? “I think it will be emotional. It’s the second time that she has said her farewells to the tennis circuit, to this gypsy life, but you can say for sure this time that it’s final, and that she’s not going to come back. I had my doubts last time, after her first goodbye, that she would retire for good, because she was so young – though her body was aching I didn’t think it would ache for long. So it will be emotional because we all know that this is final, and also because she’s saying goodbye at the grand slam where she has had so much success. And she has a home not far from New York.” 
How do you think Kim will be remembered? “Hopefully as a nice person. If you look back at the last ten world number ones, Kim is probably the most approachable. That was partly because of being mother, but she also has the cuddly factor. Kim is much loved in tennis. I think with Kim, people will remember her personality as much as they will remember her tennis. Kim has always been a normal person, just a normal person who is very good at tennis. Yes, she’s a celebrity, but she’s not one of those people who is always in the magazines in Belgium or anywhere else. She has been good to her fans, and when she has spoken about her private life, about her life with Brian and Jada, she has always done it in a natural way.”  
How was her second career different to her first? “She was much more mature. She got the bigger picture. She understood what she had to do. She was also much better at organising her time – I suppose she had to be with Jada. The results were better in her second career than in her first. I think now, after her second career, there is great deal of satisfaction and fulfilment. There were questions at the end of her first career. Should she have done this? Should she have done that? Now there are no questions left.” 
What are Kim’s future plans? “She’s bought a tennis club five minutes down the road from her house in Bree in Belgium. It’s a building site at the moment. It’s going to be an inclusive club, with recreational players as well as performance players. The club is also going to be using Hawk-Eye as a training tool. Players will come from outside to use Hawk-Eye. It’s going to be a beautiful place. That’s going to take up a lot of her time. She will be spending a lot of time in Belgium. Jada goes to school now, and Brian’s coaching a Belgian basketball team. Their house in America is their holiday home.” 
Is Jada playing some tennis? “Jada started playing this summer. She’s done some little tests. She’s got good genes, with both parents professional athletes. But she’s not going to be pushed into tennis. Or into basketball.”

  • Guest

    best wishes to Kim! she will be remembered in the history of tennis. her personality, her tennis and her smile..