Source: Voetbal Magazine, Jan. 8, 2003 (Belgian weekly sport magazine)
Kim is made for the top
It's a very long and interesting interview in which both Belgian ex-top players talk tennis, giving chapter and verse! A must read for those who want more insight in the tennis world.
Due to lack of time I only have translated the following highlights
: (will do the rest later, is on my to do list, don't worry
Interview in Meise, Belgium, with Sabine Appelmans and Filip Dewulf.
translated by Ingrid
Q: 'Ladies first' goes the saying. But let us start with menís tennis...
Filip Dewulf : The menís tour is a macho world. I donít want to kick at it, because I have benefied of it for years. However, thatís the way it is. There is the prestige, the image, the erotic effect. There are always girls hanging around who try to seduce the top players.
Sabine Appelmans : It is no surprise therefore that a lot of top players have a model as girlfriend. To most of them a tennis star isnít good enough. When it comes to this, Lleyton Hewitt is an exception. Lleyton is someone who is totally different on court than anywhere else. He is a super sweet guy, shy too, but on court he changes into an exceptional competitive player.
Q: Let us talk about womenís tennis. The menís tour is a macho world,we learned already, at the womenís there is a lot of jealousy, envy?
Appelmans : That is true. It goes from tennis results to jewelry and boyfriends. Then goes Hingis with GarcŪa and then Kournikova has to do a bit better with Enrique Iglesias (laughter). Womenís tennis has changed a lot in this way. There are the outfits, the lovers, the entire glamour surrounding it. That has become the strong element of womenís tennis, and makes it so popular. Serena Williams in her Cameroun-outfit (spelling?), Serena who designs her own outfits: thatís interesting to put in Vogue. Steffi Graf who only wants to talk tennis, is not.
Q: Do we have to reach the some conclusion like with the men, that the intrinsic best player isnít at number one?
Appelmans : Technically Justine and Kim are better. In its totality, in insight in the game, there is no one who equals Kim.
Q: The Williamses arenít untouchable according to you both, gone for a few years of hegemony?
Appelmans : No.
Dewulf : Kim has showed at the Masters that everything is possible. Both Belgian girls have gained a lot of confidence the past year.
Appelmans : In any case, it will have to be Kim and Justine to endanger the Williams-sisters. Capriati is over her best, in my opinion. I do expect Davenport to reach her level again, but not into the extent that she would pass the Williamses. And then you have Hantuchova too, who plays a beautiful agressive tennis game and dares to come to the net as well.
Q: Justine Henin-Hardenne seems to be mentally fragile. She seems obviously to be occupied with that number one position...
Appelmans : On the one hand I think it is admirable that she dares to express her ambitions to become number one, however on the other hand she better should block that out as well. She puts herself under pressure a bit too much.
Dewulf : This is the essential difference with Kim. Whether it is an exhibition match or the final of Roland Garros, she perfectly deals with it in the same manner. Probably, Justine is also too much occupied with the competition between her and Kim.
Appelmans : With Kim, one could see at a very young age that she had what it takes to make it. She is really made to play tennis at the top. Even the male tennis players are staggered re her splits.
Q: What is your opinion regarding the protective role taken up by father Clijsters?
Appelmans : On himself, he plays an important and positive role to Kim. She only has to concentrate on her tennis. The rest is taken care of. Lei Clijsters also creates a very good atmosphere for Kim. Most of the tennis dads are putting very much pressure on their children, he doesnít do that.
Dewulf : True, their collaboration works exceptionally well. However, Leiís protection is sometimes maybe a bit too rigid.
I mean, the attitude to the media in particular. After all it is thanks to the media that womenís tennis is popular and that the top players earn so much money. In this field the top players do have an obligation to the media and the fans though, they want to get to know a bit more than only the result of a match. On the other hand, she is a world star and she probably will receive an enormous amount of proposals. In that sense, I repeat that Lei plays a very positive role in the guidance of his daughter.Ē