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Clijsters Philosophical On WTA Farewell

A chance meeting at the Olympics has caused Kim Clijsters to question just how much pressure she and her peers will be under in New York.

Published August 28, 2012 03:07

Clijsters Philosophical On WTA Farewell
Kim Clijsters

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Over the course of the coming fortnight, the word pressure is sure to be thrown about the interview rooms, commentary boxes and stands of Flushing Meadows with willful abandon. That's because, according to the players, media and spectators, the ability (or lack thereof) to deal with the 'P' word will play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the year's final major.

Or will it?

Well, one player that seems to disagree with the status quo is Kim Clijsters. With three US Open titles to her name, Clijsters certainly knows a thing or two about winning when it matters most, but a chance meeting with a German judoka during one of the final tournaments of her career has caused her to question just how much pressure she and her fellow pros are under.

"After one of the runs that I did at the Olympics, I was in the gym and I was just doing my exercises," Clijsters said. "There was a guy in there, a German guy, who did judo. He was one of the favorites to win a medal and he actually lost first round.

"We just started talking and he told me how he's put everything in his life aside for that moment, and then he loses first round. He was at the Olympics for two minutes."

And this fellow Olympian's heartbreaking story of how a sporting dream and four years of hard work could be shattered in less time than it takes to win a service game put into perspective Clijsters' lot as a tennis player.

"I'm doing my exercises and at the same time thinking, 'wow, you know, we're lucky. Two weeks ago we had Wimbledon; we're at the Olympics. Within another three, four weeks we're playing the US Open,'" Clijsters added.

"For this judo guy, he had to rethink about his life, what's going to happen next. It was really deep. You know, you hear about all the amazing stories from the people that win gold, but to talk to somebody who experienced the Olympics in that way gave me another feeling.

"I realized how lucky we are in our sport to kind of not be pressured and have lots of chances."

For Clijsters, though, there will be no second chances in New York and as she brings down the curtain on an illustrious career she is determined to savor the moment.

"I have no regrets. I know I always gave myself 100% in my career," she said. "The US Open is a special place to me and it means a lot to end my career here. It will be emotional."

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