Clijsters' Dad Declares Boycott of Press
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By Tom Miles
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Leo Clijsters, father of Kim Clijsters, said Monday he and his daughter would no longer talk to certain sections of the press after they had suffered a "defamatory campaign."
Leo, Belgium's soccer player of the year in 1988, was tight-lipped about which parts of the press he and his daughter would boycott.
"I don't want to talk about it. It's people who write stupid things and some things they make up themselves. It's our choice. We don't like what people write," he told Reuters.
Leo announced his boycott in a hand-written statement faxed to Belgian national news agency Belga and obtained by Reuters.
He complained of a campaign linked to remarks made by Patrick Dewael, president of Clijsters' home region of Flanders.
Dewael had proposed changing the laws regarding taxation to make the area more favorable to Kim, who was considering a move to Australia.
"After the campaign over the last few days concerning Mr. Dewael's proposals about the rules for sport stars, Kim Clijsters feels that they abusively used her name and she and her entourage don't want to be at the disposal of those people any more," the statement said.
Last week, Dewael's suggestion was rejected by Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, who said that while it was possible to make the law attractive to a category of people, it was not possible to do so for one person.
Leo Clijsters did not elaborate on how the coverage of Dewael's suggestion had upset him and his daughter.
"People want to sell this shit? Okay, it's not our problem," he said. "I decide who I want to talk to."
He declined to say whether he thought the boycott was affecting Kim's tennis.
Last month Leo warned that his daughter could hang up her racket within three years because of the hectic schedule of women's tennis and the pressures that she was facing.