Some actual Kim news! They said the interview was edited and condensed, and knowing how verbose Kim can be, that is definitely believable.
Last year’s United States Open was Kim Clijsters’s swan song. A three-time Open champion, Clijsters retired for the second time. This year, she will be watching the tournament from her home in Belgium, where she is expecting her second child, a boy, with her husband, the retired basketball player Brian Lynch. She has spent the year as a fan, particularly of her friend and fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon. She is also working on renovating and developing a tennis club and academy in her hometown, Bree. This interview was edited and condensed.
Q. You are having a baby soon. How are you feeling?
Three weeks away. Busy, busy. Maybe a little too busy. The second one is going a lot faster than the first one. I still have a lot to do before the little one gets here.
Q. How will you follow the Open this year from Belgium?
Maybe it will be good with the time difference. Maybe I’ll be breast-feeding. It’s good to have something to watch on TV.
Q. How does this retirement feel compared with your first one?
With the first one, I kind of felt really relieved. I also felt it was definite. We were going to get married. We had Jada. For a while, the feeling started to grow to try and come back. I tried to put that aside. I know how much work and how hard it was to get back into shape after having Jada. It was hard to maintain that level. I know what it’s like, and it’s not something I look forward to trying again.
Q. Will you and your husband compete for what sports your children will play?
We want them to play sports and want them to be active. It’s not like our son has to play basketball, has to play soccer, has to play tennis. Give them the option and see what they like. They might like music.
Q. It felt as if you were at Wimbledon this year with Kirsten Flipkens’s success. What was it like to watch?
I was very, very proud and emotional. We were in the States watching a lot of her matches. It was incredible to be sitting on the couch and watching her in the semifinals and the quarterfinals, knowing where she came from a year and a half ago.
Q. How do you focus on fitness now?
I enjoy the fact that I’m able to go running when I want to do it. I don’t have to work out for four or five hours. Now the workout is kind of relaxation. In the past, it was something I had to do.
Q. How is everything going with your tennis club and academy?
It’s a lot of work behind the scenes. Things I learned on the road. Things that are important. It’s not just tennis courts and a gym. It’s a place for players to do tests. Healthy food on site. Massage therapy, Pilates, yoga, mental training. It’s the full package that a young player can use already to grow as a person and tennis player. But also for players on tour that don’t have a lot of the options like I did.
Q. Last year, your retirement was a big story. This year, it’s Marion Bartoli’s. What did you think about that?
I was very surprised. The news came out in the States when we were sleeping here. In a way, I was shocked. In a way, you understand the emotions behind it. You can have a moment after winning a big event that it’s such a relief to win such a big event. Do I think she’ll come back? I think so. Her body felt sore. I’m a good example. I can at least say the body and the joints will stop hurting three months from now.
She might come back. If not, she’s still had a great career. She was a great person to have around on tour. To see her intense way of playing practice and matches is something we can all learn something from. She was so focused and so driven all the time.