What level player is Clijsters, really? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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What level player is Clijsters, really?

People commonly group her with Henin (mostly for purposes of comparing the Belgians t the Williams sisters). How accurate a comparison is that?
Total titles 41 vs 35. Pretty close.
H2H - 12 vs 11
Slam singls titles 7 vs 2
Henin is a historical player. Easily one of the twenty singles players in the history of the women's game. Clijsters is ..... not Virginia Wade. (3 slam singles titles, 55 total titles). Half the board just went 'Who the hell was Virginia Wade?' which is kind of the point.

One could argue that Clijsters is closer to Svetlana Kuznetsova then Justine Henin. Not really a comparison either. Kuznetsova, despite her multiple slam singles titles, has only twelve total tour singles titles, compaed to Clijsters 33. Clijsters is two years older, but unless Kuzzy starts winning ten tournaments a year, that gap isn't going to close much.

Clijsters is obviously capable of beating anyone on a given day. But two slam singles titles and four finals .... isn't .... the kind of career you talk about ten years later. It's nice. Amelie Mauresmo ha a nice career too. Not quite as good as Clijsters, but ... nice.

Bluntly, I think Clijsters is over-rated. That's not a knock on her. It's a knock on the people doing the rating.

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post #2 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 02:49 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

She really is on par with them..... If she wasnt such a head case when playing Justine she'd have more majors and Justine would have less....

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post #3 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 02:57 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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Originally Posted by Tennisstar86 View Post
She really is on par with them..... If she wasnt such a head case when playing Justine she'd have more majors and Justine would have less....
Well, yes. Mental ability is a large part of what makes players great.
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post #4 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

Maybe very slightly overrated but still extremely skilled and tough player. I put her ahead of Sharapova despite having fewer slams and less variety of slams.. but I will admit that my putting her ahead of Maria is pretty subjective.
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post #5 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

I don't buy the "if she wasn't a headcase" argument, and here's why: she doesn't have one consistent big weapon. The other Big Four members had a go-to weapon; Clijsters didn't. She was the most consistent of them in terms of not losing to players she shouldn't lose to (check her record from 2001-2006 against non-top 10 and non-top 20 players; it's scary). Her forehand is her best weapon, and it isn't a knock-your-socks-off shot like Graf's, or even similar-pathed players like Kuznetsova and Ivanovic. It's also her less-reliable shot. Of the four, she was probably the best defender, and she probably had the only game on tour where you couldn't REALLY target something (what are you going to attack? Her serve is the only thing that jumps to mind, and that's a tough ask). In a clutch situation, though, the other three have something they can go to. Clijsters doesn't, really. And this is coming from a big fan.

In short, I think Clijsters is probably up there with Davenport, but she's certainly not in Serena land, and she's not even yet in Henin-Venus land. It doesn't have to do with titles, either. Her game simply isn't as penetrating and consistently deep as her top 10 peers, and that's a problemt. She's a tough player to rate, because some people dwell on the mental and show that as a sign of being over-rated, and others as a sign of being under-rated. I'd say she's probably a modern-day ASV-caliber player, but more dominant a force because there is no modern-day Graf to contend with.
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post #6 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:11 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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Originally Posted by OsloErik View Post
I don't buy the "if she wasn't a headcase" argument, and here's why: she doesn't have one consistent big weapon. The other Big Four members had a go-to weapon; Clijsters didn't. She was the most consistent of them in terms of not losing to players she shouldn't lose to (check her record from 2001-2006 against non-top 10 and non-top 20 players; it's scary). Her forehand is her best weapon, and it isn't a knock-your-socks-off shot like Graf's, or even similar-pathed players like Kuznetsova and Ivanovic. It's also her less-reliable shot. Of the four, she was probably the best defender, and she probably had the only game on tour where you couldn't REALLY target something (what are you going to attack? Her serve is the only thing that jumps to mind, and that's a tough ask). In a clutch situation, though, the other three have something they can go to. Clijsters doesn't, really. And this is coming from a big fan.

In short, I think Clijsters is probably up there with Davenport, but she's certainly not in Serena land, and she's not even yet in Henin-Venus land. It doesn't have to do with titles, either. Her game simply isn't as penetrating and consistently deep as her top 10 peers, and that's a problemt. She's a tough player to rate, because some people dwell on the mental and show that as a sign of being over-rated, and others as a sign of being under-rated. I'd say she's probably a modern-day ASV-caliber player, but more dominant a force because there is no modern-day Graf to contend with.
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post #7 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:13 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

I put her slightly behind henin, but in the same line with venus. Titles do not determine everything
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post #8 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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She really is on par with them..... If she wasnt such a head case when playing Justine she'd have more majors and Justine would have less....
But she wasn't a head case vs Henin. The H2H is 11 vs12. And Henin won the first two times they played.
1998 RAMAT HASHARON .... Henin ... 6-1 7-6
1999 REIMS ............. Henin ... 6-4 6-4
2001 INDIAN WELLS ...... Clijsters 1-6 6-4 6-3
2001 FRENCH OPEN ....... Clijsters 2-6 7-5 6-3
2001 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH .. Henin ... 6-4 3-6 6-3
2002 SYDNEY ............ Clijsters 7-6 6-2
2002 AUSTRALIAN OPEN ... Clijsters 6-2 6-3
2002 ROME .............. Henin ... 7-5 6-2
2002 YEC ............... Clijsters 6-2 6-1
2003 SYDNEY ............ Clijsters 6-2 6-3
2003 ANTWERP ........... Clijsters 6-2 7-6
2003 BERLIN OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-4 4-6 7-5
2003 FRENCH OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-0 6-4
2003 S'HERTOGENBOSCH ... Clijsters 6-7 3-0
2003 SAN DIEGO ......... Henin ... 3-6 6-2 6-3
2003 US OPEN ........... Henin ... 7-5 6-1
2003 FILDERSTADT ....... Clijsters 5-7 6-4 6-2
2004 AUSTRALIAN OPEN ... Henin ... 6-3 4-6 6-3
2005 TORONTO ........... Clijsters 7-5 6-1
2006 FRENCH OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-3 6-2
2006 EASTBOURNE ........ Henin ... 6-3 5-7 6-1
2006 WIMBLEDON ......... Henin ... 6-4 7-6
2010 BRISBANE .......... Clijsters 6-3 4-6 7-6

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post #9 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:19 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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Originally Posted by quy555888 View Post
I put her slightly behind henin, but in the same line with venus. Titles do not determine everything

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post #10 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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Originally Posted by quy555888 View Post
I put her slightly behind henin, but in the same line with venus. Titles do not determine everything
Subjectly, that's fine. And you have every riht to your opinion. But I could just as easily say Clijsters is on the same level as Elena Bovina. IF ....'Titles do not determine everything.' But, IMHO, they sure are helpful in determining who's better.

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post #11 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:21 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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Originally Posted by Volcana View Post
But she wasn't a head case vs Henin. The H2H is 11 vs12. And Henin won the first two times they played.
1998 RAMAT HASHARON .... Henin ... 6-1 7-6
1999 REIMS ............. Henin ... 6-4 6-4
2001 INDIAN WELLS ...... Clijsters 1-6 6-4 6-3
2001 FRENCH OPEN ....... Clijsters 2-6 7-5 6-3
2001 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH .. Henin ... 6-4 3-6 6-3
2002 SYDNEY ............ Clijsters 7-6 6-2
2002 AUSTRALIAN OPEN ... Clijsters 6-2 6-3
2002 ROME .............. Henin ... 7-5 6-2
2002 YEC ............... Clijsters 6-2 6-1
2003 SYDNEY ............ Clijsters 6-2 6-3
2003 ANTWERP ........... Clijsters 6-2 7-6
2003 BERLIN OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-4 4-6 7-5
2003 FRENCH OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-0 6-4
2003 S'HERTOGENBOSCH ... Clijsters 6-7 3-0
2003 SAN DIEGO ......... Henin ... 3-6 6-2 6-3
2003 US OPEN ........... Henin ... 7-5 6-1
2003 FILDERSTADT ....... Clijsters 5-7 6-4 6-2
2004 AUSTRALIAN OPEN ... Henin ... 6-3 4-6 6-3
2005 TORONTO ........... Clijsters 7-5 6-1
2006 FRENCH OPEN ....... Henin ... 6-3 6-2
2006 EASTBOURNE ........ Henin ... 6-3 5-7 6-1
2006 WIMBLEDON ......... Henin ... 6-4 7-6
2010 BRISBANE .......... Clijsters 6-3 4-6 7-6
except she lost when it mattered in the finals of the grand slams in the pressure situations...

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post #12 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

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except she lost when it mattered in the finals of the grand slams in the pressure situations...
Reminds you of Seles vs Graf, in slam finals.

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post #13 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:28 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

I feel as though saying Kim doesn't have a weapon. She's definitely a stronger version of Aranxta Sanchez Vicario to me, and she definitely has a walloping forehand WHEN SHE WANTS TO HAVE ONE. I've seen her hit forehands so much harder than she does now, but she'd rather try and draw errors out of women instead, and that will work on more. If she had the balls to step up and hit her forehand like she did in 2001, she would have had many more majors, and would be on par with Justine completely in terms of majors, IMO, even with her head. She works her way into the big moments. She didn't blow Pierce away in 2005 until about 3-3, and didn't blow away Wozniacki at all.

Short version: If she would hit her forehand like she had a pair, she'd have more slams. That's really all she needed in the long run.

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post #14 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:30 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

She's good enough to beat anyone on hard courts, and with Sharapova/Justine/Venus/Serena, she's in that upper tier; higher than Mauresmo. And I disagree with Oslo-Erik, she hits a heavier ball and on average a more penetrating ball than Justine. SHe just doesn't have her mental strength, and that makes all the difference when it comes to the tight situation in a GS.
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post #15 of 821 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2010, 03:31 AM
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Re: What level player is Clijsters, really?

She is what we call on thisboard an amazing pusher!

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