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post #16 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 7th, 2012, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Kim News

Coach: Clijsters should be fine for Aussie Open
Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kim Clijsters' injury in Brisbane has been diagnosed as a thigh muscle spasm and she should be able to play the Australian Open, her coach, Carl Maes, told The Age. Defending champion Clijsters retired down 7-6 (4), 1-3 against Daniela Hantuchova in the Brisbane semifinals. ''Kim will be resting for a few days and get intensive treatment" and her Australian Open appearance ''should not be in danger at the moment," Maes said. Clijsters is scheduled for another check-up on Wednesday.

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post #17 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2012, 08:59 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

The Big Interview Kim Clijsters: 'Me and Dad had this thing about the number one' Ahead of her last Australian Open, the veteran Kim Clijsters talks candidly about her father, who passed

Donald McRae guardian.co.uk, Monday 9 January 2012

"There have been many moments over the last year when I thought it was all over," Kim Clijsters says of the physical ravages which continue to threaten an end to one of the most remarkable comebacks in professional sport. "These were the moments when I was disappointed and frustrated, when I got so low because it seemed all my hard work had been wasted. But the moments passed and the motivation to go back to rehab was there again. I've worked really hard but it's definitely not been easy."

Clijsters may be the most likeable professional tennis player in the world, and a sporting superstar who prefers an ordinary life to a celebrity existence, but she now faces more uncertainty. The last eight months of 2011 were ruined for Clijsters by ankle, shoulder and stomach injuries which forced her late withdrawals from Wimbledon and the US Open.

After acknowledging that she needed to play less and concentrate on strengthening her fragile body, Clijsters took a long break. Last month she finally played an exhibition in her native Belgium against Caroline Wozniacki – and beat the world No1 in straight sets. Even if it was a mostly hit-and-giggle exercise, Clijsters displayed some of the skill and tenacity which symbolised her greatest triumph when returning from retirement in 2009 to win the US Open in only her third tournament back on the circuit.

Having left tennis in May 2007 to start a family, she had no world ranking and only gained a wildcard entry. Clijsters became the first unseeded player to win at Flushing Meadows; yet, far more evocatively, she was a new mother to a small girl called Jada and an inspiration to women around the world.

Clijsters repeated her US Open triumph in 2010 and followed it by winning another grand slam in Australia last January. She then pushed herself to play an indoor tour event in Paris and briefly replaced Wozniacki as the world's top-ranked woman. The cycle of injuries began soon afterwards and Clijsters is still recovering from her latest setback. Last week, in Brisbane, she retired when a set up against Daniela Hantuchova, in the semi-final of her first tournament for five months.

A scan has since confirmed that she merely suffered a muscle spasm in her hip and Clijsters insists the decision to withdraw was precautionary and evidence of her desire to play in the Australian Open – beginning on Monday in Melbourne. "I feel physically stronger than ever," she says. "Now it's time to get used to tournaments again."

Clijsters won her first three matches in Brisbane and hopes her hip spasm was a consequence of easing into competitive play rather than the start of another serious breakdown. She claims to have "a good feeling" this time – unlike on two key occasions last year. "When it was the ankle before Wimbledon and my stomach tear before the US Open it was serious," Clijsters says. "The second one was far worse because I knew it was bad straight away. It was very hard getting back after that injury."

Her acceptance that this will be her final Australian Open is framed by an anniversary. Last Wednesday it was exactly three years since the death of her father, Lei, the former Belgian international footballer who died from cancer on 4 January 2009. "I think of my dad every day," Clijsters says in a theme that dominates our two separate interviews for this article. "I think of him mostly in fun ways or while bringing up Jada. Of course it hits me when people leave messages but mostly it's just a number, four, on his anniversary. He's with me every other day of the year."

She shakes her head in amazement. Clijsters is at her most compelling in such moments, when recounting the often eerie way she has been reminded of her father since his death. "If it happens once you can say it's a coincidence. But when it keeps happening you start to feel it's something else. I get chills thinking about it. Me and Dad had this big thing about the number one. Sometimes at night I think of that because I wake up and look at my clock and it's 11 minutes past one: 1.11. This happened at the US Open in 2009."

Clijsters takes a deep breath as if she wants to control herself before unravelling a mysterious web of stories. "I made it to the quarters against Venus Williams. In the last game I was down 15-40 [with Clijsters 5-4 up in the deciding set]. It was tough and I missed my first serve on the next point. Even though I never usually look at the speed of my serve, this time I did: 111. I might have been down two break points but it gave me such peace. I was like, 'Ah … OK'.

"A few days later I was driven back to the courts. I was anxious, a new mother out of the game for two and a half years and up against Serena Williams now. And Barry White came on the radio. My dad was a huge Barry White fan and this was the same song we had played at his funeral. I called my sister, Elke, in Belgium and said 'Listen …' I felt amazingly calm and of course I won the match and the tournament."

Clijsters tells me two more stories, in a list that she says could go on and on, and the first comes from last summer when, on 8 June, she turned 28. "My dad always sent me the biggest bouquet of roses every birthday. Last year Brian [her husband] and I had dinner and we were driving home around 11 at night. I was thinking about my dad and how he would've been involved if he'd been alive. I was talking to my sister on the car phone and, as soon we finished, this song came on the radio …"

She sings, more hauntingly than Katie Melua, "There are nine million bicycles in Beijing …'"

Clijsters nods meaningfully. "It was the other song we played at my dad's funeral. I looked at my husband and said, 'Here's my last birthday gift.' I started crying then. But it's so comforting. I love those moments. Also, a few months after Dad died, I was at my grandparents' house and we were looking at old photos and they were telling me things about him I'd never known. When I left I started crying in the car. They were big tears and my vision was blurred and I was wiping my eyes when this white Audi cut me off. I slammed on the brakes and the first thing I saw was the number plate. It said LEY – Dad's name. I laughed because my dad would've said: 'Hey, get yourself together – don't cry.'"

Her surprising return from retirement, which began with an exhibition at Wimbledon in May 2009, was framed by the birth of Jada and the death of her father. "A few weeks after my dad passed away my manager called – and he was one of Dad's best friends. He said they wanted me to play a special match to open Wimbledon's new Centre Court with Steffi Graf, who was my idol, Andre Agassi and Tim Henman. I was very happy.

"I thought of the year I'd just had. When I was seven months pregnant I found out my dad was sick. We'd go home, my husband and I, and we so wanted to enjoy that special time of pregnancy but I'd just seen Dad in hospital. And even after Jada was born we'd come home after more bad news. We'd see Jada laugh for the first time and we'd have fun with her – just an hour after seeing my dad so ill. It was very weird.

"But in that last year we were very close. Dad was staying in our farmhouse and we had dinner together almost every night. He saw Jada a lot and I was proud of how we helped him live to the end. It was painful but it makes you stronger and really appreciate life in a new way – and death as well. I never expected my dad to die so young. He was only 52.

"The important thing was that he got to know Jada and he would love it if I left her with him – and he'd feed her and play with her. He was my dad, a great friend, an adviser, a protector. He was also strict and taught us values that these days a lot of kids don't get. We didn't always see eye-to-eye and we had words but now I'm older I understand. There are things I do with Jada that make me understand why he did those same things to me. That's comforting – knowing I'm passing on what he taught me."

Unlike Wimbledon, where she has such rich memories of him, her father never visited Australia. "He wasn't so keen on flying and he definitely didn't like the heat. But he obviously knew what the country meant to me because of my relationship with Lleyton Hewitt."

Clijsters was once engaged to the feisty Australian, who won Wimbledon and the US Open, but their relationship ended in 2004. "That's why winning last year in Melbourne meant so much to me. It was so emotional. For a long time, since the Lleyton days, people out here called me 'Aussie Kim'. I took that as a big compliment but, like I said after the final [against China's Li Na], I only felt I really deserved that name once I was Australian champion.

"I've got this special feeling towards the Australian Open because I have been there so many times as a spectator – watching Lleyton. I think that changes your relationship with a tournament when you experience it more as a spectator than just a player. It gives you a real feel for the emotion of the place. Last year the emotion was there all the time."

Her long catalogue of injuries underpins Clijsters's poignant realisation that a final retirement cannot be delayed much longer. "All my time in rehab has made me appreciate tennis more than ever. I would love to do well one last time in Melbourne and my dream would be to win Wimbledon and play in the London Olympics. And of course one more US Open would be special. But the last months have taught me not to expect anything. I already know how lucky I've been because, whatever happens, it's been a wonderful second career. My dad would want me to remember that forever."
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post #18 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2012, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Kim News

That is a really, really, really nice interview...

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post #19 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 2012, 10:55 PM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

kim is booked in for a practice/hit on RLA tonight. great sign if she is going to be hitting (may only be light though) as early as wednesday. a tuesday start will give her 6 days to fine tune things.

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post #20 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2012, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012 Kim News

Shit... According to the Australian Open Twitter, "Kim Clijsters canceled her practice today so no photos of her on Twitter today :-( @ClijstersKim" Hopefully it's not because of any injury.

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post #21 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 2012, 09:41 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

From Sporza:

Kim confirms playing in the AO after training behind closed doors. Carl Maes said she still has some pain, but she managed to train well.

Fingers crossed!
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post #22 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 2012, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Q. Is there perhaps a sense of relief to be sitting here as defending champion after what happened in Brisbane? How are you?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm doing good. I think what happened in Brisbane was something that I knew kind of was something that would only need a few days to get better, and it did.

I had my scan just to make sure the day after, but that showed no problems. So I was relieved. Yeah, came to Melbourne and started hitting when I got here.

Q. Are you happy with the amount of practice you've had then?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Yep, yep. I've been able to do what I wanted to do, gym and on court, so yep.

Q. Because of injuries, you haven't had a lot of opportunities to defend your slam titles in the past. The one time you did get a chance in New York, you did it successfully. How is your mindset different coming in when you're defending champion?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, it's a new tournament, new year. You don't think about it that much. Obviously you have that good feeling when you step out on a court where you've done well, where you've achieved a dream or something that came true. So you automatically kind of get that positive vibe again. But that obviously doesn't mean that it will go easy and smooth, you know, the next year.

Something that I did at the US Open as well, just take one match at a time, just make sure that I keep having my same routines and just try to be in the best shape that I can be every day, then we'll see how it goes.

Q. After four different Grand Slam winners last year, do you see somebody taking a firmer grip on the whole tour? Do you think it might start here if it happens?

KIM CLIJSTERS: I don't know 'cause out of the four girls last year, you know, besides Serena, who is probably even more powerful than the four of us, it's all very close. So I think on any given day, whoever just plays that little bit better can win. I think that's why a lot of girls have belief in their chances to win a Grand Slam is because they have beaten some of the girls that have won Grand Slams before.

I think that's something that this year, you know, a lot of the top players are going to have to be very careful with. There's going to be a lot of lower‑ranked players who are still going to have big opportunities to beat some top players and get chances in Grand Slams.

It's definitely a completely different situation than we had let's say eight years ago or so where it was kind of easy to almost pencil in quarterfinalists or semifinalists in the draw. I think that's completely different now, which makes it more fun. But I think you have to be ready from the first match onwards because you can have really tough matches already.

Q. Given you hadn't committed to playing beyond the Olympics, when you left home to come to Australia, did you feel there's a finality about this year? Did it feel any different?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it actually didn't. I just felt very focused on why I'm here, and that's obviously to play good tennis and try to stay healthy throughout the whole season, not to have major injuries where my season might be a question mark, which I would kind of like to end on my terms.

So, yeah, I'm not thinking about it at all. I had a nice break at home. Unfortunately the first few months were tough. You know, I was able to have a really good preparation. That preparation was obviously in the back of my mind, to try to stay healthy.

Q. Did you reach the same level of frustration last year after all the injuries that you did the year prior to your first retirement?

KIM CLIJSTERS: No, it was different. I think when I was younger I wasn't as much frustrated. I was just sad that my body wasn't doing what I wanted it to do.

I think now I'm in a different place. I have some different people around me who I think are in their role or in their job one of the best people that I'm able to work with. I think that gives me a lot of confidence as well, knowing that I have really good people around me who know that I'm not the type of player or person, whether I'm a little bit older. I'm not going to be on court for six hours a day anymore because I won't last that much longer anyway. With the way that I play, that's not possible.

So physically I've had, you know, a really good fitness preparation, kind of had the time to start working on I call it the boring things, but the core, just making sure that everything is ready to handle all that pressure.

Q. Is there part of you that thinks if things go well this year, Maybe I'll want to continue?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Look, you never know, but I doubt it (smiling).

Q. No matter how much you work on your core or do the boring stuff, you can't replicate what your body goes through in a match, the emotions, the tensions. When you see yourself having an injury, or Serena, is that a function of not playing enough, not having enough matches that leaves you more susceptible?

KIM CLIJSTERS: That's why I'm happy it happened in Brisbane and not here. You have to start at a tournament somewhere. You're going to have to go through those situations.

I tell you, my practices are 10 times harder than any situation I'll have in a match. But, you know, it's the emotions that play a part into how you react in matches. I think that's something where your body just has to get used to that again.

It doesn't matter, I don't think, whether you've been off for six months or three months, when you start, you just have to get used to it.

You named Serena and myself. But I think we're both very strong girls. The way we move and play, every shot that we hit is with our full body. That puts a lot of pressure, you know, on certain body parts.

So I'm not going to sit here and say, look, tennis is a perfectly healthy sport when you do it on a top level, because it's not. The movements are not always that natural.

Q. You always had such a great relationship with the Australian public because of your history here. Has it been any different coming back this year as defending champion?

KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I've always loved coming here, as well. It's been always a place where I enjoyed coming to. Obviously, when I was younger, I spent a lot of my time off here in the off‑season and I was able to get a completely different feel for the country and for the people and for the culture when I wasn't playing tournaments. That's one of the reasons why I enjoy and am still in touch with a lot of Australians that I've known over the years.

It's a lifestyle that I like. At the tournaments, I mean, the people are so helpful and happy. Yeah, nothing is ever a problem it seems like. It's nice to be around, you know, positive people.

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post #23 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2012, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Clijsters Gives It Her All and Makes It Look Easy

MELBOURNE, Australia — It looked so easy for Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open on Wednesday as she leaned into her strokes from inside the baseline and dispatched the overmatched Stιphanie Foretz Gacon, 6-0, 6-1, in well under an hour.

But it has been anything but easy in the last year, even in the last week, for Clijsters to put herself in position to have the farewell season brimming with meaning that she hopes she deserves.

“I’ll be honest, there were definitely moments last year where I felt like I’m not even going to last until the Olympics,” she said, sitting at a table in the shade at Melbourne Park. “There were moments I felt like maybe I need to listen to my body and say, ‘Look, I’ve had a great comeback and maybe this is it for me.’

“I’ve had those questions going through my head, but every time there was something after a couple of days of just letting all those emotions take their place. I always felt like, ‘No, this is not how I would like to end my career.’ ”

What Clijsters, just 28, would like is to end her career with the right feeling more than the right trophy.

“It doesn’t mean I need to win a Grand Slam this year, but I want to know at the end of this season that I gave myself 100 percent with everything that I did, whether it was doing boring exercises in the gym or having a tough workout out on court,” she said. “You know there’s going to be matches out there where you’re not feeling good and where you have to mentally battle through and find solutions to win them, and I actually want to have those moments as well and live them fully, be mindful, very mindful.”

Clijsters is in a reflective mood these days, speaking often and touchingly of her father, Leo, who died three years ago, and casting a nostalgic eye on Australia, which has embraced her since she was engaged to Lleyton Hewitt years ago. But Clijsters is quick to point out that this is a business trip.

“I’m not here because it might be the last time I’m going to be in Melbourne, and I want to go visit the penguins,” she said. “I’m here with my focus on tennis 100 percent.”

That seems prudent considering that she has played so little competitive tennis in the last seven months and that her half of the draw includes Li Na, whom she beat in last year’s final here; top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki; No. 3 Victoria Azarenka; and No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska.

But first Clijsters must get past her close friend Daniela Hantuchova in the third round. Clijsters was 9-0 against Hantuchova as a professional until they faced each other in the semifinals in Brisbane in the first week of this season. Clijsters was unable to finish the match after injuring her hip.

Clijsters played only nine events last year, and not because of the prioritizing that comes with being a working mother. After winning the Australian Open last year and soon returning to No. 1, she appeared set to restore some coherence to the top of the women’s game, but again her body did not cooperate.

Pain is what drove her out of the sport the first time in 2007 at age 24. Last year, there were shoulder, wrist and ankle injuries. Short on matches, she lost in the second round at the French Open and withdrew from Wimbledon and the United States Open.

“When you come back and work hard, you want to at least be able to play or feel good out on the court,” Clijsters said. “It doesn’t mean you always have to play perfect tennis. That’s a different story, but I wanted to at least feel like I was able to move freely and hit without worrying about my shoulder or my hip or my foot, those kind of things. And at one point, I couldn’t even do that anymore, and that was frustrating, especially with the type of tennis that I play. It’s physical.”

She is hardly the only one playing that way in this muscular era, but she retains an unmistakable presence on a tennis court. Clijsters is a smooth technician whose bludgeoning power so rarely seems forced. She moves, above all laterally, with remarkable grace even if she is trying to stop using her trademark splits after the Brisbane injury.

“I think it would be a smart thing,” her coach, Carl Maes, said.

Maes first coached Clijsters when she was 11 and brought her up to the professional ranks before becoming head of women’s tennis for the British Lawn Tennis Association. But last year, after her disappointing French Open, Clijsters asked him to rejoin her team, and he is back to being the head coach after Wim Fissette’s resignation in September.

Maes said he did believe this would really be her last year.

“But having said that, if I look at her tennis — the body is the most tricky part of it — but if I look at her tennis, she could very easily go for two, three, four more years on the tour,” he added.

Asked why she feels the need to set an end date, most likely after the United States Open in September, Clijsters thought for a while.

“It’s for myself, for my husband,” she said. “We want to have that normal life, and he has been very supportive of my career. I was able to support him for those two years when I was at home, and I feel very comfortable in that position. I love my life at home and taking care of Jada and my husband, and we want to have more kids.”

Her husband, Brian Lynch, an American who played basketball at Villanova University, is now coaching the semiprofessional basketball team Cuva Houthalen in one of Belgium’s lower divisions. But Lynch is back in Melbourne with Clijsters, although there are apparently no longer any guarantees that this year will mean the end of the family’s nomadic tennis life.

Jada, who will turn 4 in February, has traveled the world since infancy, toddling around on court during victory ceremonies but expressing little interest in playing the sport.

“She’s never been big into tennis,” Clijsters said. “And yesterday out of the blue, she’s like, ‘Mommy, I want to play tennis, like you!’ So I was like, ‘Wow, O.K.’

“And my husband looked at me and was like, ‘Ohhhhh.’ And he goes, ‘Do you want to travel and then we watch you play?’ And Jada’s like, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Clijsters, chuckling as she told the tale, remembered very well what she said to her daughter next: “Please no.”

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post #24 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 2012, 08:47 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

Clijsters won't play fed cup against Serbia. Belgian team will depend on Yanina Wickmayer, Kirsten Flipkens, Tamaryn Hendler en Alison Van Uytvanck.

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post #25 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

But after her semifinal, Kim said she would think about her possible participation in Fed Cup in February ...

"Now the Australian Open is over for me. Now I return to Belgium. We will discuss with my team the opportunity or not to play Fed Cup next week in Charlero. The selection was announced, but I have not made ​​my decision. I personally give it to Ann Devries in two or three days."

For me, it is nonsense to consider to play Fed Cup in February. She should rest and heal her various injuries. I feel that she has already forgotten her physical troubles of last year ...

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post #26 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

some real news
Kim saying she's happy she's no longer top 10 because now she has no more obligations to play tournaments.
and her schedule for the coming months (can still change)
  • Indian Wells (March 7 )
  • Miami (March 20 )
  • Madrid (May 5 )
  • Roland Garros (May 27 )

Clijsters: "Blij dat ik geen top 10 meer ben"

Door haar nederlaag in de halve finales in de Australian Open verliest Kim Clijsters een pak WTA-punten. Vorig jaar was ze immers de beste in Melbourne. Clijsters valt wellicht net uit de top 30. Daar maalt ze niet om, integendeel: "Weg met de verplichtingen."

Clijsters staat momenteel 14e op de wereldranglijst. In februari 2011 stond ze nog eerste, maar een mindere ranking ziet ze in haar afscheidsjaar als een haar voordeel.
"Ik ben heel blij dat ik niet meer in de top 10 sta. Zo kan ik mijn eigen toernooien kiezen en heb ik geen verplichtingen meer", zegt onze landgenote in de kranten.
"In 2011 heb ik me een paar keer serieus opgejaagd. Ik zit niet meer in een situatie waarin ik aan die verplichtingen wil voldoen. Ik wil zelf plannen."

Programma van Clijsters (onder voorbehoud)

Het programma van Kim Clijsters in de komende maanden ziet er normaal gezien als volgt uit:
  • Indian Wells (7 maart)
  • Miami (20 maart)
  • Madrid (5 mei)
  • Roland Garros (27 mei)
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post #27 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

It sucks Madrid is a Mandatory

Assuming she'll only play a clay tournament before RG, I'd much rather see Kim playing Rome...

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post #28 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

Originally Posted by pedropt View Post
It sucks Madrid is a Mandatory

Assuming she'll only play a clay tournament before RG, I'd much rather see Kim playing Rome...
If she's not gonna play 16 tournaments then a 0 pointer for not playing Madrid is pretty irrelevant.
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post #29 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2012, 12:24 PM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

I would love her to play rome too. =/
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post #30 of 127 (permalink) Old Jan 29th, 2012, 12:56 AM
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Re: 2012 Kim News

I think Kim should play two warm ups for RG. She can space them out. Perhaps add a MM.

Kim has barely played on clay since returning to the game. Not ideal if she wants to do well in Paris.

Good Luck: Belgian & Czech Girls

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