Category Archives: Kim Clijsters
So today Justine conducted a lengthy Belgian television interview. They apparently spoke about everything, and of course “everything” includes all those gamesmanship accusations that have popped up at the most important moments in her career. Like, you know, “the hand”, or “the call”, or “the retirement”.
I’m sure there are many gems to come out of this interview, but the best one?
“Perhaps I should have said that I raised my hand even though in honesty I still think that this didn’t change the course of the match because if I thought she was really perturbed by that, I think I would have reacted. Now, there’s a lot of tension, we act according to our instincts, so it’s true that this is not the best memory.. but in the same time, what happened beneath was magical. So there, I don’t know if this turned around the match. I hope I’m not in bad intentions when I say this.
It was perhaps a way to respect me, because it should be known that the Williams sisters have attitudes that are sometimes difficult… They have played enormously on intimidation. It should be known that when we play a Williams, and we walk on court, towards the entrance of the court, there was always the second besides. Because they show themselves that they are two together. One already makes a big impression, and it’s two.”
So basically she decided to use gamesmanship/cheat (whatever you want to call it) because Venus and Serena are bullies, and she wanted to get them back and force them to “respect” her? That is just too good.
Back when it happened, my immediate thought was that she just wanted to win at any costs. She has never had the outside interests of the Williams Sisters, Kim or the rest. And of course when she tried to, Pierre-Yves Hardenne happened. So, yeah, clearly tennis was only actual thing going on for her.
But this? This just blows any other possible conspiracy theory out of the water, and yet it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. What a way to justify cheating! It says a lot about her as a person, really. That she can see two women, two minority women, not afraid to stand up tall with confidence and strength, and that’s a problem? From where I’m standing, it only shows that she herself lacks/lacked confidence and she also lacks any strength of her own.
But most importantly, it’s just goddamn hilarious.
To add to it. She also admitted seeing the ball as ‘in’ against Clijsters, yet she still protested and eventually convinced the umpire to overrule on the most important point in the match. And in addition to that, as shown in the picture, they played back the “hand” incident to her and she just sat there laughing. Man, that woman is classy.
After two matches ending 7-6 in the third, it was stupid to even think that Petra Kvitova would reach the final of Paris here in one piece, let alone demolish Kim Clijsters to take the title. Yet here she stands, the champion of the Open GDF Suez.
I’ve always been pretty torn on Petra Kvitova. Such an insanely talented ballstriker, but she has always been so, so inconsistent. However, her transformation over the past year has been unbelievable. Not only is she now in the best shape of her life, but she has finally learnt the art of winning ugly. Before, there were only two sides to Kvitova – the huge hitter that bulldozed through opponents, finding every line on the court. And, then, well, the huge hitter that self destructed, finding every part of the stadium but the court.
But as witnessed by her matches this week, she now knows how to reign in her game when not playing well and find away through. Those matches only helped her confidence, and from then on it was plain sailing.
As for Kim, I don’t think she can or will be too upset with this result. A good week for her still, and even though she doesn’t care very much, rising back to number one on Monday will be a pretty good consolation prize, no? And if that isn’t enough, she still has those Grand Slam titles to keep her warm.
But there are an exciting few months ahead for the WTA. I expect Petra to be exhausted in her next few tournaments, but with the Williams sisters on the way back in the near future, these two playing extremely well, and then a series of other contenders waiting to pounce, this clay season could well prove one of the most exciting in years.
(Pic via Getty)
I guess it’s only fitting that the two players with the best records so far this year (16-1 for Clijsters and 15-1 for Kvitova, with one loss each) should complete in the final here in Paris.
It should be intriguing at the very least. We saw Kim breeze past two big hitters in her last two rounds, but Kvitova undoubtedly has more to bother Kim than the other two at this point in time. When playing Kim, for aggressive players I think there are two pillars that must be followed religiously;
Firstly, it’s about using the whole court. We watched yesterday as Kanepi attempted to hit deep and heavy down the centre in order to push Kim back behind the baseline and wait for the short ball. That tactic works well against most, and Kanepi’s reigning in of her game was the driving force behind last year’s two quarterfinal runs and the reason why she will move into the top 15 for the first time on Monday. However, Kim feeds off pace and deflects it back into the corners with minimum effort, so it’s all about dragging her off the court, getting her on the run and putting the ball as far away from her hitting zone as humanly possible. Kvitova, of course, has that swinging lefty serve at her disposal which will help a lot, and she enjoys creating angles and moving opponents around, which is a good starting point.
But that’s not enough. The other vital ingredient will be to get forward behind those big shots and finish them at the net. Remember the Australian Open final? Na had step one down to a tee, moving Kim around beautigully. But. Those. Damn. Drive. Volleys. They were so bad that it got to the point where I, and practically everyone else on the planet supporting her was screaming at the TV “LET THE MOTHERF$%£*$£ BALL DROP!”. But when she did, it simply gave Kim a chance to recover back into the point, and usually win it. And so confidence in the forecourt is vital. But again, Kvitova also excels when moving forward, and she has really shown some brilliant net instincts and touch almost reminiscent of Navratilova herself, both this week and in general.
So, in a nutshell, Kvitova has the tools to beat Clijsters, but whether she can execute perfectly, and whether Clijsters will give her a chance to execute perfectly, is another question altogether. The pair have played twice before, both in 2010, with Kim dropping a mere 5 games in both matches combind. When asked to recall her previous meetings with Kim, Kvitova hilariously exclaimed “They were so quick!” But it’s a new day, and Kvitova’s form this week doesn’t compare with the error-strewn confidence-lacking Kvitova of those periods in 2010, so we’ll see what she brings to the table in the final showdown of the Open GDF Suez.
So buckle up kids, it should be a good ‘un.
She did it. She won. I don’t know how, when, or where this came from, but Jelena Dokic is through to the quarterfinals of the Open GDF Suez in Paris.
To call her life and career a rollercoaster would be one of the biggest understatements in history. The story just never ends. Every time you think there could possibly be a happy ending, there is, without fail, some kind of huge setback that throws her all the way back to the start – whether it be physical, mental or otherwise. And everytime you think she will just pack it in and call it a day, for the sake of her own sanity, she ends up coming back and pulling off victories not unlike the ones she pulled off this week.
I really can’t overstate how well she was playing today. The serve and groundstrokes were all firing on all cylinders. Before the match, I was adamant that Nadia would have to have one of her famous brainfarts for Jelena to stand a chance, but that wasn’t even close to what actually happened. Nadia wasn’t great, no, but really she was just brushed aside by a player with a far more devastating game, playing at an extremely high level. All that kept her in the match was her serve, and as soon as Jelena had looks at the second serve, she would punish Petrova.
Jelena has visibly improved with every single match this week, and she’ll need to continue to do so if she wishes to stand any chance tomorrow, because awaiting her in the quarterfinals is only the de-facto number one, Kim Clijsters. I don’t think there’s any point in trying to predict the outcome of this match, though. There are just too many variables. Historically, the matches between Jelena and Kim have always been a steaming hot pile of mess. And considering both players are below the level they were at back in those days, we could well see a similar scenario.
I will say one thing though – if Kim plays at the level she played in her last match and Jelena continues to play at the level she has been playing herself, an upset could possibly be on the cards. It’s a big “if”, of course, but an important one.
Bring it, Madusah.
(Pic via Getty)
Sorry for the lack of blogging, but I’ve had some technical problems with the site this week, and I really just haven’t had a great urge to work. Just been taking everything in and getting used to the new surroundings. Because believe me, they are completely different to the usual tennis fan’s experience.
As I said in an earlier blog, my biggest aim of the week was to just watch as much tennis as possible. I am, after all, a tennis fan before a blogger, aspiring journalist or whatever. But as soon as I arrived, it became crystal clear that the week was going to be a massive mental tug of war. On one hand, I want to experience a side of tennis that, as a regular fan, I have never experienced before – sitting in on players’ press conferences, listening to the CEO and other important people speak, and generally just having the opportunity to say things, anything, to the players. But then there’s just sitting around, chilling out with a cool beverage (alcoholic, of course) and just watching the sport I love.
But the negatives of having a press pass are also paradoxically the positives. Having such a great variety of different things to do here is such an exciting prospect. Even disregarding the behind-the scenes things, just being able to strut around with a piece of plastic around your neck and gain access to any place on court is almost a dream for any tennis fan. I took full opportunity of that yesterday, sitting so close to the court I could reach out and touch it, to watch Jelena against Safarova. And though it physically hurt - not being able to cheer, express frustration and fistpump wildly (to the point where I finished the match with a headache and no nails), being able to sit so close to a player you have followed for most of your life as they complete such a gigantic, emotional and momentous victory was just such a great experience.
I do have one big disappointment thus far. And it’s that I STILL HAVEN’T SEEN TATI. I can’t even lie and act like one of my biggest reasons in choosing Paris over Rotterdam, as stupid as it may sound, was the possibility of just bumping into her in a hallway or something, and being able to talk to her and ask questions in some way, shape or form. Everyone needs closure! GDF Suez (the tournament sponsor) has forever pimped her around all of their events since she stopped playing, and she was everywhere at this tournament last year, but ah well, I’ll live.
It’s still so early in the week, so I can’t name the player that has impressed/surprised me the most, but I will say that the sound of the ball contacting Petra Kvitova’s racket is something that every single person should witness live once in their life. And for that, and that only, I hereby crown her the new Lindsay Davenport.
I can tell you who hasn’t impressed me though, and it’s the player currently playing in front of me – Saint Kimothy. She’s currently a set down to Barrois, although she just broke back. I’ve have had a lot to say about Kim recently, though a lot of people don’t agree with me, but that’s fine. I’m just yet to watch her play and thing “wow, she’s playing at a level that no one can reach”. Instead, she has greatly benefitted from the quality of the players she has been up against, and the fact that most of the best players are struggling in some form or another. You can only beat those in front of you of course, but judging by the way you just double faulted away that break, Kim, you’re not doing much to prove me wrong right now.
I think congratulations are in order for both Kim and Na. Since her comeback Kim has won three of the five slams she has entered - a great achievement by any standard. She has been saintly as ever in victory and defeat, and it is refreshing to see her finally rid of the headcase label that littered her first career.
As for Na, she has had a brilliant fortnight. From the epic interviews and pressers to the way she has carried herself on-court and played her tennis. There have been so many stories on the Women’s side this fortnight, but I really feel like she has stolen the show and it’s going to be exciting to see how she handles herself off-court. Also pleased to see she acquitted herself well in the final, with none of those painful meltdowns that have come to litter first (and second) time finalists over the last few years. She’ll have more chances in the near future to win slams.
Have to say though, this match was quite an anti-climax. After Na’s initially brilliant play, she became tight and the errors flowed like wine. Kim wasn’t much better, but her experience steered her through in the end. Still, this slam has perfectly set up the rest of the year, with countless questions to be answered as the year wears on.
Not least, the question of one Serena Williams. Immediately after the match, she tweeted congratulations to Kim. A couple of people remarked that it was probably an assistant tweeting for her in the middle of the night. But no, it was her. She stayed up to watch as the title she couldn’t even mount a defence on this year was handed to a brand new winner, a title she has won five times in total. She may indeed have been as excited for Kim as the tweet made out, but I’m also sure she was bitter, she was upset, and she was disappointed that it wasn’t her holding the title up this year. And when she comes back she will treat Kim like an enemy on-court. She’ll believe that all the titles won by Kim, Wozniacki and the rest were simply through luck and the fact that she was unable to compete. And she’ll be determined to put it right.
So bring on the rest of 2011, WTA. I think it’s safe to say we’re in for one rollercoaster of a year.
So it’s here - the women’s final of the Australian Open. I’m completely torn on which player will take the women’s title here. On one hand we have Kim Clijsters who has to be considered the favourite here. After collecting her third Grand Slam and US Open title at the end of last year, here she is in the final of the Australian Open for the second time. On paper, she really should win it. Since her comeback, though her tennis has often faltered, her mental strength has been the driving force behind her success. Her finals record has been near-flawless since then, with her only loss coming, you guessed it, against Li herself two weeks ago in Sydney.
And so Li is definitely in with more than a chance. The big question is whether or not she’ll come in full of nerves. She may have recovered from a 0-5 deficit in that Sydney match, but this is the real thing now and she cannot afford to fall behind early again. Kim won’t be exempt from nerves, mind you. I’m sure that looking back at her previous finals experience doesn’t exactly feel her with joy, after “the call”. This being when Justine, up to her old tricks, claimed that an in ball was out, convincing the umpire to wrongly overrule on one of the most important points of the match. Thank god for hawkeye nowadays, eh?
Either way, here’s hoping for a great final. We have two supreme athletes capable of playing some brilliant tennis, so hopefully this fun fortnight will get the send-off it deserves with an exciting final. Clijsters in 3, but please prove me wrong, Na.
It was such a shame (though not completely surprising) to hear that David Nalbandian was completely spent after his 4+ hour brilliant first round defeat of Lleyton Hewitt. Less than two days after the marathon, he was back on court and this time only able to muster up one game against young talent Ricardas Berankis (yeah, I refuse to call him “Richard”) before retiring in the third set.
The good news? This tiny boy from the minute country of Lithuania is through to the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his caeer. His first name may change as much as he changes his clothes, but he has been steadily rising up for around a year now and is slowly gaining momentum, and with it hype. And he deserves it.
Also, gotta love his little Lithuanian supporters. Everywhere he goes, there seems to be a different group of around 5 or 6 Lithuanians who paint their faces in the colous of their flag and go around screaming “Lietuva” at the top of their lungs. Won’t ever forget last year’s Wimbledon qualies when I sat down with them, and we were cheering so loud for him in his match against Dan Evans that it ended up with Evans coach coming over to sit down close by and Evans walking towards us after every change of ends, and the two groups swearing at and trash-talking each other for the whole match. Classic.
And the worst? Well firstly, there was Rafael Nadal’s demolition of Marcos Daniel, who promptly retired while down 0-6 0-5.
But we all know what I’m getting at here - Kim Clijsters’ 6-0 6-0 defeat of Dinara Safina. Regardless of whether you’re a fan or even like Safina, you have to feel bad for her. The girl broke her back last year. Now she is trying to find a way back to some kind of form, but how can she do so when every single draw is a further punch in the face and a kick in the teeth? It’s just so sad for her, she needs matches to build up her confidence again, yet all they’re doing are further hurting her.
Oh, and Saint Kim is no more. What an evil, sadistic woman.
But that’s all I’ll say on this matter, because unlike certain journalists, I won’t be making a massive thing out of this. I find it ridiculous to see many of them criticizing Dinara. Maybe they should break their back and then come back to play the best player in the draw. We’ll se ehow they fare, eh?