FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It’s finally over. Kim Clijsters officially came to an end after she and Bob Bryan lodt in the scond round of their mixed doubles match against Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares, 6-2 3-6 1-0(10).
“It was a lot more relaxed obviously than my singles,” Clijsters said. “In my singles, I was still so focused. Even afterwards, I knew that my singles career was over, but I was really focused on trying to do well in doubles and mixed. There was no partying yet or anything. I kind of stayed in my same routine as usual.
“Now when I was in the shower, I was like, it really felt like, whew, like a big release. It feels right.”
Clijsters officially ends her career with Bryan, the doubles master, who played with many superstars on the field, including Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport.
He says playing with Clijsters was as good as playing with those other greats, especially on the new Court 17 with 2800 fans cheering them on.
“I’ve been lucky to play with a lot of great champions,” Bryan said. “Kim is no exception. She’s a legend. You know, the fans out there, you could see how much love they have for her, you know. I didn’t know 2800 people could be so loud. They just didn’t want her to stop. They kept willing her.
“I was just blown away. I was just trying to stay out, not mess the point up, let her do all the beautiful stuff.
“But, yeah, I mean, it’s really an honor for her to even ask me to play mixed doubles. I was nervous. Like I said, I didn’t want to let her down and let all her millions of fans around the world down.
“But it was a lot of fun. We had some great laughs, had a couple chest bumps. I’ll leave this tournament ‑‑ this is really the highlight of the tournament. Even if we win the doubles, this is the highlight, playing with Kim.”
Now Clijsters is off the history books and more importantly her family. She doesn’t care how she is remembered, because he knows she had a great career.
“That’s not important to me,” Clijsters said. “You know, I always tried to give my best, even from when I was eight years old until this last match, I always tried to give my best in everything that I did, whether it was sitting here, on the practice court.
“You know, maybe for that. Maybe that’s something that I would like to be remembered for.”