The real Callens interview: fully translated now!
I noticed a big thread concerning some quotes of Callens. Unfortunately they were (consciencly) mis-interpreted by Flemish TV. That's why I summarized the unimportant parts and litterlay translated the important parts about Justine, youngsters, Hingis and Navratilova. You'll notice it gives a whole other dimension to the 5 lines quoted in the previous article.
First she explains how she started her professional career at the age of 19. In 1991 she played for the first time at wimbledon and she won her first round match without ever playing or practising on grass. She stayed with the same host family at Wimbledon for 15 years. Her most happy moment was the olympic bronze medal (Sydney 2000) with Van Roost.
she had a serious fight with Kim Clijsters about the Olympics (Athens), because she wanted to play doubles there but Kim didn't want to.
"The title in 2001 was the climax. But I remember I was the only player who went celebrating with the coach and the rest of the delegation. The other players went right to bed. The rivalry between Justine and Kim was there from the beginning, like it existed between Van Roost and Appelmans. Kim and Justine didn't talk much to each other. At dinner, Justine stayed in a little corner far away, she doesn't speak Dutch and Kim doesn't speak French well. The communication was very difficult. Sometimes I went over to Justine to have a little chat, but it wasn't easy to speak freely. Pierre-Yves and Carlos were around her all the time. I also felt little respect from her side. She quickly thinks that everybody is against her. It's really a pity that they don't play together anymore in Fed Cup. Theoretically they could have won Fed Cup 5 times.
"Kournikova showed little respect for others, I overheard her once yelling at her driver because he was 15 minutes late. That mentality is very typical for the eastern european countries. When those players start with nothing and they go to the top, they often forget where they are coming from. Also Sharapova is not the nicest person, but her dad hangs around her all the time. Even when she wins a final, he keeps on harping on points she lost. If a person behaved in that way towards me, I would smash my racket on his head!"
"Of course there is a generation-gap. With somebody of 16 years I have no contact. Most of the young girls stopped school early and have little interesting things to tell, have little attention for culture. One has little friends in the circuit. I always got along well with Meileen Tu. In general it's a very jealous world. In the lockerroom players supported often against Martina Hingis. She could be very belittleling. I played once against her. When I made a point she lokked at me like: "how is it possible that you made a point?". She laughed at you in your face.
Els talked about how she saved a lot of her earnings and never bought unnecessary things ("only a watch, a painting and a car"). Now she is fed up with traveling.
Callens was known for her double skills. In Amelia Island 2003 she played with Navratilova. "She asked me, and of course you don't say no. It was quite an honor. Of course she tries to pick good partners. I was really nervous. She really puts a lot of pressure on you. She could get quite mad when I made a stupid mistake. (laughing): 'Why don't you hit a forehandsmash instead of a backhandsmash!!". In that sense I was relieved it was over".
With Van Roost it clicked the best. She build up the points from behind, I finished them at the net.
Callens isn't afraid to start her life after tennis. I already teach tennis and I would like to graduate as an A-trainer, with that I can also become Fed-cup-captain. Within a few years I want to apply for that job.
Last edited by Borris; Oct 25th, 2005 at 12:52 PM.