FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It’s tough to say what made Kim Clijsters happier tonight. Was it just winning the US Open or being able to celebrate it with her 18 month-old daughter Jada?
Maybe it was a little bit of both.
“Just the way [Jada] was looking at herself up on the screen,” Clijsters said after she defeated Caroline Wozniaski in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3 to win her second US Open title. “[Husband] Brian [Lynch] and I were just talking to her and like laughing, with, yeah, the way that she was handling it all.
“Brian and I were, you know, a lot more nervous than she was. She just thought it was the most normal thing, I guess. So, no, it was nice to share that with my family, that moment, yeah.”
With just two tournaments under her belt, Clijsters comeback is complete with the US Open championship. Even without that much practice, she mowed down her competition throughout the two weeks and came back to a sport she enjoyed.
And that’s the same sport she put behind herself two and a half years ago. In fact when Jada was born a year and a half ago, she would never of even thought of coming back to the courts and would have hung up on anyone who suggested it.
“I would have gone click,” she said simulating hanging up the phone. “Not until the start of this year, that’s when it came back. So 18 months ago or 18 and a half months ago, tennis wasn’t even on my mind at all, you know. I was just a new mom and just going through those experiences, as well, which is a lot of fun.
“But, you know, yeah, no, I would have definitely hung the phone on you. Sorry.”
Clijsters is trying to prove something to working mothers everywhere. You can have a career and at the same time enjoy your family. Although it would make sense for her to keep it going, the Open Champion is going to take it easy and pick and choose her tournament.
The next will be in Luxembourg in October and then she will think about when she will play next, although the Australian Open is on the calendar. By picking and choosing she will stay fresh and at the same time she will pretty much be the stealth contestant on each of these tournaments, because she won’t accumulate points to move up in the rankings.
But all of that doesn’t matter to Clijsters. She’s a mother now and for her family comes first.
“I don’t know how I’m going to top this, but it’s a challenge, you know,” she said. “It’s a challenge now at each tournament you play to try to show your best tennis and to stay in good shape, obviously. It’s something that I’m going to be, you know, really focusing on is to try to pick, you know, think wisely about my schedule and pick my tournaments and just try to really whatever I play and whenever I play, just really try to, you know, peak at certain situations.
“And, yeah, so I think it’s something that, you know, now with my coach, my physio and everybody, that’s something that we’re just going to keep focusing on, is making sure that, you know, I still work hard and everything.
“But also, they also know how important it is to have that family life at the same time. So I’m not, you know, playing next week or anything. I just want to go home and relax for a little bit.”
And she will enjoy herself. The beaming look on her face tells the whole story. Clijsters wasn’t just able to just win, but she also had Jada there to enjoy the moment.