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View Full Version : Kim Clijsters: offensive or defensive baseliner?


LudwigDvorak
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:12 PM
I can never make up my mind which is which with her. I see a kind of majority saying that she's a defensive baseliner, but then when I watch her play, I see her attacking the ball with an excellent measure of defense thrown in. When she could smack the ball around off both wings and get the opponent out of position and attack, she would. Are people mistaking her defensive abilities as her ability to construct points within her large frame of power?

I could be entirely wrong here. So I want to know what your take on it is. I'm open to changing my opinion, but it's just whenever I saw her play, she always looked to be on the attack and hitting really hard. "Defensive baseliner" to me is probably Amanda Coetzer, for an example. Maybe Sanchez-Vicario too, although she had wonderful volleys.

So, is Kim Clijsters a defensive or offensive baseliner?

Keaka
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:16 PM
Offensive for sure.

She just had the ability to go to the defensive too, what's great.

LindsayRulz
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:31 PM
I think Kim was a natural defensive player who had to be agressive if she wanted to win. At her best she was definatly an agressive baseliner but at some point of her career she was just hitting and waiting.

cypher_88
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:32 PM
I think Kim was a natural defensive player who had to be agressive if she wanted to win. At her best she was definatly an agressive baseliner but at some point of her career she was just hitting and waiting.

:yeah:

cellophane
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:46 PM
I think Kim was a natural defensive player who had to be agressive if she wanted to win. At her best she was definatly an agressive baseliner but at some point of her career she was just hitting and waiting.

Yep.

Apoleb
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:50 PM
I think Kim was a natural defensive player who had to be agressive if she wanted to win. At her best she was definatly an agressive baseliner but at some point of her career she was just hitting and waiting.

Agreed. As good as her defense was, she didn't win matches by getting balls back. She won by being aggressive and controlling the rallys.

DimaDinosaur
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:54 PM
When she plays just defensively, she's boring to watch.

AcesHigh
Nov 23rd, 2007, 04:55 PM
I think she was naturally offensive.. in that she had all the gifts and talents of an offensive player and I think that was when she was at her best.

However, IMO, she had a tendency to play defensively. As a fan, I hated when she would just get balls back and not play aggressively.

I think people see her great ability to cover the court(her splits sticking out in people's mind) and the fact that she usually wasnt as aggressive as Davenport, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, etc. and think of her as a defensive player. However, I wouldnt personally categorize her as that... just my opinion though. She's somewhat of a hybrid, leaning towards the offensive side.

UDACHi
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:07 PM
defensive. she was at her best offensively but she seemed to be behind the baseline retrieving against the top players.

chuvack
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:20 PM
I can never make up my mind which is which with her. I see a kind of majority saying that she's a defensive baseliner, but then when I watch her play, I see her attacking the ball with an excellent measure of defense thrown in. When she could smack the ball around off both wings and get the opponent out of position and attack, she would. Are people mistaking her defensive abilities as her ability to construct points within her large frame of power?

I could be entirely wrong here. So I want to know what your take on it is. I'm open to changing my opinion, but it's just whenever I saw her play, she always looked to be on the attack and hitting really hard. "Defensive baseliner" to me is probably Amanda Coetzer, for an example. Maybe Sanchez-Vicario too, although she had wonderful volleys.

So, is Kim Clijsters a defensive or offensive baseliner?



come on, this is an unbelievably stupid question. You don't win 90 matches in a year, win a Slam title and get to world #1 position by being a "defensive baseliner". Think about it. :rolleyes: Kim game had great offense and power. She wasnt destroying all those opponents with her defense.

the doctor
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:24 PM
Offensive,absolutely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matthias13
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:31 PM
come on, this is an unbelievably stupid question. You don't win 90 matches in a year, win a Slam title and get to world #1 position by being a "defensive baseliner". Think about it. :rolleyes: Kim game had great offense and power. She wasnt destroying all those opponents with her defense.

You took the words right out of my mouth :D IMO a defensive baseliner is a player who runs from side to side and just waits for the opponent's mistake by tossing each ball high up in the air. Kim often/always took the initiative with her powerful fore- and backhands during the rally, but she also had a wondeful defense. People sometimes mix it up a bit I think.

Kart
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:31 PM
I think Kim was a natural defensive player who had to be agressive if she wanted to win. At her best she was definatly an agressive baseliner but at some point of her career she was just hitting and waiting.

This could be said of most players though couldn't it ?

Though I wouldn't have said it any different, IMHO a summary of Kim's game would be to say she was too defensive when it really mattered.

thrust
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:33 PM
Against most players, offensive. Against the top players, a little less so.

LCS
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:39 PM
She is naturally offensive, the thing is that her defense was superb...

LudwigDvorak
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:39 PM
come on, this is an unbelievably stupid question. You don't win 90 matches in a year, win a Slam title and get to world #1 position by being a "defensive baseliner". Think about it. :rolleyes: Kim game had great offense and power. She wasnt destroying all those opponents with her defense.

I usually don't take the bait to trolls, but I've often seen her referred to as a defensive baseliner. The point of the thread is to clarify what that's about and what each person's take is, although I agree with the poster that posted beneath you.

I'm surprised so far so many are calling her an offensive baseliner, it's just something I'd so often heard about Kim, that she was such a defensive player.

Direwolf
Nov 23rd, 2007, 05:57 PM
She goes mostly offensive against lower ranked players..
and to players she doesnt have trouble with
or when shes high on confidence...

and when on defense(against top players)
she really goes into defense
and slightly forgets that she
can play and incredible offense..

she just doesnt have that extra ooomp
when she hits the ball...

AcesHigh
Nov 23rd, 2007, 06:23 PM
She goes mostly offensive against lower ranked players..
and to players she doesnt have trouble with
or when shes high on confidence...

and when on defense(against top players)
she really goes into defense
and slightly forgets that she
can play and incredible offense..

she just doesnt have that extra ooomp
when she hits the ball...

Kim can muster as much offensive power as most player on tour. Her offensive talents are probably some of the best of this decade.. if not the last 20 years. IMO, she just didn't use them when it mattered the most. Could this have been helped by better coaching? She seemed to have problems with confidence or maybe a mental block that prevented her from having hte success she shoudl have had.

skanky~skanketta
Nov 23rd, 2007, 06:31 PM
she was a good mix of both. unfortunately, she usually tended to be very defensive against venus, serena and justine. her wins against them came when she was attacking the ball. though her forehand made tons of errors, she was extremely good at changing the direction with it.

Billabong
Nov 23rd, 2007, 06:51 PM
I think she was a very good offensive baseliner, when her shots were on she was very impressive (when she was off, it could be very ugly though), but her defensive skills and movement from the back of the court are what made her so special, she could defend very well and then go to attacking mode because of her incredible court coverage:yeah:

justine schnyder
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:07 PM
She could do them both is the best way

Volcana
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:15 PM
Clijsters was a defensive player by court position, but an offensive player by shot selection. An unusual combination.

Juju4ever
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:20 PM
Offensive, for sure. I miss her so much. :sad:

Sir Stefwhit
Nov 23rd, 2007, 08:54 PM
I think she was naturally offensive.. in that she had all the gifts and talents of an offensive player and I think that was when she was at her best.

However, IMO, she had a tendency to play defensively. As a fan, I hated when she would just get balls back and not play aggressively.

I think people see her great ability to cover the court(her splits sticking out in people's mind) and the fact that she usually wasnt as aggressive as Davenport, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, etc. and think of her as a defensive player. However, I wouldnt personally categorize her as that... just my opinion though. She's somewhat of a hybrid, leaning towards the offensive side.

Agreed! I always felt Kim was, for the most part, miscategorized. The overwhelming majority of her matches she played offensively. Being a great defensive player will win you a lot of matches, but she routinely punished players outside of the top 10 with very lopsided scores, scores a defensive player wouldn't get on a regular basis.

The way I've always seen it is if Kim felt she could over power you or get you in positions where she could make you play a more defensive style of tennis she was extremely aggressive off the baseline. In those instances she would hug the baseline or play positioned more inside the baseline. The lower ranked players who she beat easily, all fit in this category. They couldn't hurt or so she hurt them playing an offensive game from the baseline and defending well the whole time.

The top ranked players who were her equal or better on the offensive side, but who weren't her equal defensively she beat by changing the direction of the ball and taking the ball early to get them on the run. A good example of those kinds of player are Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Mary Pierce, Dinara Safina, Nicole Vaidisova, and Nadia Petrova- all of which she has a winning record over. She was a lot more offensive minded against these players than she was against the players that had a better mix of offensive and defensive play.

Against those players who were good both defensively and offensively she would switch up her game and instead of playing her regular offensive style of tennis, she was more comfortable being a backboard. Players like Serena, Justine, Venus, Steffii, and Jennifer Capriatti- interestingly enough, she doesn't have a winning record over any of those players. If you could defend well and put pressure on her she wasn't as comfortable having to be the aggressor. When she played these players she would stand way behind the baseline and would try to mix things up more than she would try to go for the outright winner.

I think one of the reasons she's miscategorized as a defensive player is that most of her high profile matches were against the players that made her play defensively. I also felt that when she got nervous or when her forehand would go off, she would have a tendency to retreat and start playing more defensively. Another reason why I think most of us see her as a defensive player is because she was one of the best defenders out there. You had to hit 3 great shots to end a point against her.

I think her game was built around her defensive play, but she was most definitely an offensive player.

_Cell-chuk
Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:25 PM
Definitely a defensive player Clijsters was.
I cannot believe how many people in this forum think that she was a offensive baseliner. Just shows not many people actually do know about the game of tennis.

Hitting winners into the open court does not necessarily mean that you are an offensive baseliner. Of course Clijsters was a wonderful player and she could play any attacking shot but it was her superb defensive play and athletisicm which won her all those titles. She just kept getting the balls back time after time until either her opponents made a mistake or she just put the ball for a winner into the open court.

When Clijsters was younger she was more of an offensive player, especially in 2001-2002. In fact in 2002 she just tried to hit every ball for a winner without working for the point most of the time. She had some unusual losses to players like Dechy, Fernandez, Likhovtseva because they were reasonably fast players who could make Clijsters hit one more shot. She just tried to hit these types players off the court with her shots from the baseline and would hit mant UEs.

Then beginning from the end of 2002 and the start of 2003, she became the player we all are familiar of. The ultimate defensive baseliner with superb feel and athletisicm who drove her opponents crazy. Of course she was hitting the winners to the open court and if it was a good day she could hit her opponents off the court with her aggressive shots from the baseline. But 90% of the time it was her defensive play which brought Clijsters success.

But unfortunately this kind of play led to her early retirement. She got injured ofter because no matter how strong and athletic she was, her body could not take that much pressure. Still she is one of the best player of her generation and we all expect her to make some kind of comeback in the years to come.

tennisjunky
Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:42 PM
Agreed! I always felt Kim was, for the most part, miscategorized. The overwhelming majority of her matches she played offensively. Being a great defensive player will win you a lot of matches, but she routinely punished players outside of the top 10 with very lopsided scores, scores a defensive player wouldn't get on a regular basis.

The way I've always seen it is if Kim felt she could over power you or get you in positions where she could make you play a more defensive style of tennis she was extremely aggressive off the baseline. In those instances she would hug the baseline or play positioned more inside the baseline. The lower ranked players who she beat easily, all fit in this category. They couldn't hurt or so she hurt them playing an offensive game from the baseline and defending well the whole time.

The top ranked players who were her equal or better on the offensive side, but who weren't her equal defensively she beat by changing the direction of the ball and taking the ball early to get them on the run. A good example of those kinds of player are Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Mary Pierce, Dinara Safina, Nicole Vaidisova, and Nadia Petrova- all of which she has a winning record over. She was a lot more offensive minded against these players than she was against the players that had a better mix of offensive and defensive play.

Against those players who were good both defensively and offensively she would switch up her game and instead of playing her regular offensive style of tennis, she was more comfortable being a backboard. Players like Serena, Justine, Venus, Steffii, and Jennifer Capriatti- interestingly enough, she doesn't have a winning record over any of those players. If you could defend well and put pressure on her she wasn't as comfortable having to be the aggressor. When she played these players she would stand way behind the baseline and would try to mix things up more than she would try to go for the outright winner.

I think one of the reasons she's miscategorized as a defensive player is that most of her high profile matches were against the players that made her play defensively. I also felt that when she got nervous or when her forehand would go off, she would have a tendency to retreat and start playing more defensively. Another reason why I think most of us see her as a defensive player is because she was one of the best defenders out there. You had to hit 3 great shots to end a point against her.

I think her game was built around her defensive play, but she was most definitely an offensive player.

never liked kim, but did notice she played masha different than she played against serena or justine. thought she was just more confident against masha, but what you say makes sense. too bad masha didn't get a chance to play her more. sure if she did she would turn the h2h around because she could over power her easy. just had to be patient because like you said you have to keep ending the point against her. think shes both defense and offense, but more offense than people give her credit for.

No Name Face
Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:59 PM
Defensive.

cellophane
Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:34 PM
When Clijsters was younger she was more of an offensive player, especially in 2001-2002. In fact in 2002 she just tried to hit every ball for a winner without working for the point most of the time. She had some unusual losses to players like Dechy, Fernandez, Likhovtseva because they were reasonably fast

She was injured in '02 when she has those losses, at least when she lost to Likhovtseva at Wimbledon... Defensive baseliner implies someone who wins matches just by running shit down and waiting for errors... of course she sometimes played defense too much, but that's not all she did.

hingisGOAT
Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:38 PM
Offensive. As someone pointed out, early in her career she was the prototype for a dumb ball basher. When she started to rely on her athleticism more, she started winning more. That being said, I think she lost more matches by hitting brainless unforced errors than playing too passively...

Il Primo!
Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:39 PM
Defensive! Even when you're a baseliner, you move forward, step in in the court! And Kim didn't!I barely saw her at net. When she played the Williamses, Davenport and Sharapova, there was a huge difference!

Ben.
Nov 23rd, 2007, 10:42 PM
I think she can be both an offensive & defensive baseliner, thats what got her success.

Sir Stefwhit
Nov 23rd, 2007, 11:12 PM
Definitely a defensive player Clijsters was.
I cannot believe how many people in this forum think that she was a offensive baseliner. Just shows not many people actually do know about the game of tennis.

Hitting winners into the open court does not necessarily mean that you are an offensive baseliner. Of course Clijsters was a wonderful player and she could play any attacking shot but it was her superb defensive play and athletisicm which won her all those titles. She just kept getting the balls back time after time until either her opponents made a mistake or she just put the ball for a winner into the open court.

When Clijsters was younger she was more of an offensive player, especially in 2001-2002. In fact in 2002 she just tried to hit every ball for a winner without working for the point most of the time. She had some unusual losses to players like Dechy, Fernandez, Likhovtseva because they were reasonably fast players who could make Clijsters hit one more shot. She just tried to hit these types players off the court with her shots from the baseline and would hit mant UEs.

Then beginning from the end of 2002 and the start of 2003, she became the player we all are familiar of. The ultimate defensive baseliner with superb feel and athletisicm who drove her opponents crazy. Of course she was hitting the winners to the open court and if it was a good day she could hit her opponents off the court with her aggressive shots from the baseline. But 90% of the time it was her defensive play which brought Clijsters success.

But unfortunately this kind of play led to her early retirement. She got injured ofter because no matter how strong and athletic she was, her body could not take that much pressure. Still she is one of the best player of her generation and we all expect her to make some kind of comeback in the years to come.
I don't pretend to know everything about tennis, but I do think I'm pretty knowledgeable about the sport and I respectfully disagree with you. Kim was one of my favorite players and I have tons of her matches on tape and I think you mistakenly oversimplified her game. On the surface I can see why you think as you do, but a more keen eye would see things differently.

Before we can debate, agree, or disagree, I guess we should start by defining offensive play. Since everyone on earth agrees that Kim plays great defensive tennis we don't have get into that. When it comes to that style of play she's one of the best and she's always incorporated elements of her defensive play in every match she played, so again, we're agreed here. Even though that was the basic building block of her game, I don't think it defines her as a defensive player.

How I define an offensive player:
-These players will try to win the majority of points by hitting a winner (not necessarily by just hitting one shot though!) and they usually have more winners than their opponents
-These players posses a go-to shot, or a weapon, a lethal groundstroke on either the forehand and or backhand side(s)
-These players are more comfortable playing higher risk tennis than most other players
-For the most part, they tend to play better (and win more,) on faster surfaces. The faster surface give the offensive players an advantage
-These players have a good mix of depth and power on their ground strokes (on either the backhand and or forehand).

Looking at my criteria for an offensive player, Kim fits it 100%. Just because she can defend almost better than anyone else in the game, doesn't mean she's not an offensive player. The two styles of play aren't mutually exclusive to one another. When a player excels at one aspect I think we sometimes have the tendency to want to put that player into that box. I think the same thing happens to Serena. No doubt about it, she's an offensive player, but like Kim, she plays great defensive tennis. I think Serena's defensive play is underrated and Kim's offensive play is as well.

For good measure let's look at how I define a player whose game can be DEFINED as a truly defensive player:
-These players would rather not lose a point than to try and win a point
-These players usually have a low number of unforced errors and a low number of winners
-These players play high percentage tennis and seldom try to go for risky shots to end a rally
-These players have their best results on the slower surfaces
-The rely heavily on their speed and or anticipation to track down 'would-be' winners and keep the ball in play

Looking at my criteria for a truly defensive player Kim fits a few of them perfectly, but as a whole, those attributes don't best describe her style of play. With that big forehand of hers she would constantly hit low risk shots from way behind the baseline that would turn into great winners. Kim's favorite method for winning points was changing the direction of the ball, which again is high risk tennis, and try to find the open court to finish off points. To accomplish this she relied on her speed to defend well. Her speed and great defending was crucial to her game and probably the thing she relied on most, but again that doesn't make her a defensive player. The fact that she tried to dictate play with her forehand is the main reason she's truly an offensive player.

It's kinda like how people say Justine's best shot is her backhand. They're underestimating that deadly forehand of hers. On the surface her backhand looks to be her best shot, but I think it's her forehand that actually wins her the point. Just like Kim's aggressive play is what ultimately wins her matches.

Kim=Offensive player who defended almost better than anyone else in the game.

jujufreak
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:13 AM
When she plays just defensively, she's boring to watch.

agreed

jujufreak
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:15 AM
I think she was naturally offensive.. in that she had all the gifts and talents of an offensive player and I think that was when she was at her best.

However, IMO, she had a tendency to play defensively. As a fan, I hated when she would just get balls back and not play aggressively.

I think people see her great ability to cover the court(her splits sticking out in people's mind) and the fact that she usually wasnt as aggressive as Davenport, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, etc. and think of her as a defensive player. However, I wouldnt personally categorize her as that... just my opinion though. She's somewhat of a hybrid, leaning towards the offensive side.

good point, I'd combine it with Lindsayrulez' post :)

Renalicious
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:15 AM
She is an offensive player with good defence.

jujufreak
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:16 AM
IMHO a summary of Kim's game would be to say she was too defensive when it really mattered.

so true :)

Apoleb
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:20 AM
I think a very good match to analyze Kim's game is her USO 05 QF against Penus. First set, she was 1 or more meters behind the baseline, happily retreiving shots, and getting her ass handed out to her in return. When she started getting more aggressive in the second set, hitting deeper and harder and trying to take control of the rallys, she turned the match around.

No doubt in my mind, that Kim won by being the offensive player. She was just an excellent defensive player, who also enjoyed playing defense, but she didn't win her big matches/titles when she wasn't in control of the points.

hingisGOAT
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:21 AM
I think people consider her defensive because of her court positioning. Serena, for example, steps into the court, takes the ball on the rise, and accelerates foward into her shots. Clijsters, however, would step backwards and take the ball very late, and whip through her shots. In both cases, the ball is hit incredibly hard -- but Serena ends her shot two steps inside the baseline, while Kim ends her shot two steps behind the baseline. :shrug: But Kim's shots as a whole were as powerful and high-risk as the rest of the big babe ball bashers.

jujufreak
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:23 AM
I think a very good match to analyze Kim's game is her USO 05 QF against Penus. First set, she was 1 or more meters behind the baseline, happily retreiving shots, and getting her ass handed out to her in return. When she started getting more aggressive in the second set, hitting deeper and harder and trying to take control of the rallys, she turned the match around.

No doubt in my mind, that Kim won by being the offensive player. She was just an excellent defensive player, who also enjoyed playing defense, but she didn't win her big matches/titles when she wasn't in control of the point.

physically she was (also) better than Venus at that moment.

CJ07
Nov 24th, 2007, 01:09 AM
Clijsters was a defensive player by court position, but an offensive player by shot selection. An unusual combination.
I agree. And she was both against top players.

She only really played offensive defense against them. I was watching the 2002 Stanford final and she basically just hit the ball down the center waiting to react. She hit winners when she was stretched out or when Venus was basically asking her to.

It was in 2005 that she finally started taking it to people.

shap_half
Nov 24th, 2007, 04:20 AM
I think the reason why so many people see her as a defensive baseliner is she lost a lot of huge matches playing as such.

wateva
Nov 24th, 2007, 06:14 AM
kim is definitely an aggressive baseliner. I have seen so many kim's matches and i seldom see her unforced errors being single digits. that's what defines a defensive player. few errors fewer winners.
Kim always went for her shots especially off her forehand. I don't see players like Smashnova or Medina Garrigues doing so. it's even more apparent during her last years on tour that she just wanted to end the point on her own racket. her injuries didn't allow her to be patient anymore and she was always rushing things. :sad:

Sir Stefwhit
Nov 25th, 2007, 12:42 AM
It still irks me to no end, that a player of her caliber only managed to win a single slam, even two slams wouldn't have done her proper justice. I guess that just goes to show that it's more than having the game to win slams, a lot can be said for those that have the right mindset.

This thread has got me feeling a little nostalgic about her. I guess when I look back it will always be bitter sweet.

azinna
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:10 AM
I agree. And she was both against top players.

She only really played offensive defense against them. I was watching the 2002 Stanford final and she basically just hit the ball down the center waiting to react. She hit winners when she was stretched out or when Venus was basically asking her to.

It was in 2005 that she finally started taking it to people.

Everything's been said already. Kim was a bit of a chameleon that way, and her options actually made it difficult for her to do what was necessary to win slams. I remember sighing at the TV during the 2nd set of her RG final against Justine in 2003. The 4-5 times Kim hit with any depth and pace Justine's strokes were caught half-swing.

2005 was the year she made a decision to be aggressive and stuck with it match in, match out. Every other year offers a range of matches with her playing every style possible except S&V.

Elldee
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:56 AM
Kim was undoubtedly an aggressive player, but had the motivation and ability to be RIDICULOUSLY good in defense.

Sorry to be a Lindsay fan and bring her into a Kim debate but their matches always intrigued me [and often pained me]. My thoughts on the match up [especially after Lindsay's great summer run in '04 when she really believed in herself again] is that Lindsay has the better forehand, backhand and serve whilst Clijster has great strokes and serve, they're not quite up to Lindsay's [not exactly an insult] but where this discrepency is overcome is in movement which was such a gulf. Similarly, Kim has a better volley and certainly better net coverage and this all edges Kim up over Lindsay. That's why Lindsay beat Kim on grass, where the ball stays lower and therefore there's less time on the ball... plus, Lindsay really wanted that match. On hard for Lindsay, however, it was never going to happen again against Kim.

Corswandt
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:06 PM
"Clijsters the defensive baseliner/Clijsters the retriever" is mostly a slur created by the WS fans after the 2005 USO QF, a loss the Veenuts took months to digest.

Clijsters was a power baseliner, a very big hitter. She could generate pace effortlessly, easier than say Henin. Enough to easily overpower most scrubs, at least, and inflict some very lopsided scores, since her court coverage meant they just couldn't hit winners past her. Clijsters handed out tremendous beatings on the early rounds of tournaments, much the same way as Davenport did.

In late 2005, Clijsters mix of power hitting and unyielding defense was at its peak, since it allowed her to go for broke when the opportunity presented itself while giving away no more than 3-4 points with needless errors on each set. This kind of consistency can be just as intimidating as the ability to step in the court, shriek like a banshee and hit the crap out of the ball, since her opponents knew they'd have to fight hard for every single point.

During 2006, Clijsters became a much more impatient and erratic player, going for early winners of the FH side and often coming close to burying herself in errors. Even more puzzling, though, was the way she let herself be bossed around by Sharapova, from the San Diego final which was the turning point that gave us the SuperMasha of late 2006, to her routine loss at the YEC, and to the oddly anticlimactic 2007 AO SF.

This is a good point BTW:

Clijsters was a defensive player by court position, but an offensive player by shot selection. An unusual combination.

Farina Elia Fan
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:08 PM
she was both - thats why she won a slam and was world number 1

Andy.
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:10 PM
She was an offensive players against anyone other than the very best. But against the very elite she tended to become a defensive player.

jenny161185
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:41 PM
offensive with great defense when she needed it, say if she wasnt firing that day she could stay in these rallies with the top players and play her way into the match ala USopen Quaterfinal 05.

I really miss Kimmy was watching Videos of her winning the Usopen the other day, God she was playing great!!!!

terjw
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Lots of nice posts and analysis here by fans of all players that I so agree with. If I had to pick one poster in terms of best analysis amd sentiments towards Kim it would have to be Sir Stefwhit. But I do agree with so many.

Just one thing I'd like to give my comment on:


During 2006, Clijsters became a much more impatient and erratic player, going for early winners of the FH side and often coming close to burying herself in errors. Even more puzzling, though, was the way she let herself be bossed around by Sharapova, from the San Diego final which was the turning point that gave us the SuperMasha of late 2006, to her routine loss at the YEC, and to the oddly anticlimactic 2007 AO SF.

I've always thought that after the USO 2005 - that although she never believed she needed one - a coach would have made that extra difference to staying at the top and could have helped her with those problems Kim started having with her forehand and those unforced errors which she relied on so much. She was still good enough to beat everyone except Justine, Masha and Amelie. But she could just no longer beat those three players.

Mind you - those three players did up their games in 2006 - none more so than Amelie. Every darned game she played against Kim was a great match and Amelie played some of the best tennis in her life against Kim. She always kept her very best against Kim. Maria wasn't always at her best against Kim but I thought was just mentally stronger at the end and was that bit more hungry for the win - how she wins a lot of her matches. I don't think Kim was unmotivated in 2006 as some claimed at the time - but she wasn't as hungry as Maria was.

Elwin.
Nov 25th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Offensive !! but she was great in defence :)

TennisGuy21
Nov 25th, 2007, 03:37 PM
she is both, that is what made her a champion

Dave.
Nov 25th, 2007, 03:48 PM
I think she is a natural defensive player. She is so quick around the court and has a fantastic ability to get to every ball (even if it involves of doing the splits!). However, during her career she developed her groundstrokes and really went after them more, to the point where she could compete with the bigger hitters. But I still think she was a natural defensive player who drove players like Lindsay Davenport mad by the amount of balls she got back.

fufuqifuqishahah
Nov 25th, 2007, 03:49 PM
players like JJ & Coetzer are defensive baseliners. Kim is a little of both, though I would have to say she did better as offensive baseliner.

LudwigDvorak
Nov 25th, 2007, 03:57 PM
Yes, it is interesting to note her results after the 2005 US Open. She won four titles after that event (Warsaw, Stanford, Hasselt, Sydney) with three lost finals (Antwerp, San Diego, Antwerp). For someone of her caliber that's basically nothing, especially as one of her titles was a baby one (although her matches there were tough towards the end).

So what changed in her game, or was it the players around her getting better? I guess the added aggressiveness in her game in 2005 just went overboard by 2006?

saki
Nov 25th, 2007, 04:14 PM
Well, it all depends on what definition you use. Obviously.

Various ones have been mentioned already. One of the questions that I think about when thinking about offensive rather than defensive play is: is the player in the place that she wants to be? I.e. is the player in charge of the point, knowing that (for example) she wants her opponent to hit it to her backhand so that she can hit a backhand down the line? Or is the player generally where her opponent wants her to be? I think this is what Volcana is getting at with the comment about court positioning Vs shot selection. In my opinion, Kim relatively rarely chose where she wanted to be on court, took charge of the point and got herself there but, from the position that her opponent placed her in, she often still hit some very risky shots, shots more typical of an offensive player.

Havok
Nov 25th, 2007, 07:08 PM
Clijsters was an offensive defensive player, much like Hewitt, plain and simple.

I think Kim started off playing more offensive tennis, but in her prime, realised she was a much better defensive player but she wasn't a defensive player ala Amanda Coetzer. For the most part she would defend, but she knew how to turn defence into offence. The months leading up to her retirement, though, I think she went a little overboard with the offence though which resulted some odd losses.

terjw
Nov 25th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Yes, it is interesting to note her results after the 2005 US Open. She won four titles after that event (Warsaw, Stanford, Hasselt, Sydney) with three lost finals (Antwerp, San Diego, Antwerp). For someone of her caliber that's basically nothing, especially as one of her titles was a baby one (although her matches there were tough towards the end).

So what changed in her game, or was it the players around her getting better? I guess the added aggressiveness in her game in 2005 just went overboard by 2006?

A combination of the two. Kim's tally of UEs from her forehand definitely went up in 2006 when she was on the offensive. I lost count of the times she overhit - and she wins so many points with her forehand.

But Maria, Amelie and Justine did definitely play better in 2006 than 2005. All three of them played at least one dreadful match against Kim in 2005: Amelie & Maria played horribly against Kim at Miami - Maria couldn't cope with the wind in that final. While Justine played awful against Kim in the Toronto final - again in the wind. She couldn't cope with it.

Those three never played bad against Kim in 2006. In fact the Kim vs Amelie matches were all a very high standard - with Amelie always picking Kim to play what I thought was the best tennis of her life.

Against everyone else in 2006 - Kim was winning.

LudwigDvorak
Nov 25th, 2007, 08:16 PM
I just saw Craybas beat Kim in Miami last year...omfg how did that happen. :tape:

Aside from that, yep, 8/12 losses in 2006 to those three players. And of the other four losses, one was Fed Cup to Dementieva, so...

terjw
Nov 25th, 2007, 08:36 PM
I just saw Craybas beat Kim in Miami last year...omfg how did that happen. :tape:

Aside from that, yep, 8/12 losses in 2006 to those three players. And of the other four losses, one was Fed Cup to Dementieva, so...

I think to all intent and purpose - Kim effectively retired at Antwerp in 2007 where she put everything into that and lost in the final to Amelie again in a high quality match. Amelie didn't play well very often in 2007 - but that was one of the times she did - Grrrr :fiery: .

I don't think Kim was really in any state of mind to be winning any tennis matches after that. I think she really wanted to just retire then - but had this thing about putting in appearances for her fans at places she had fond memories. In retrospect she should have just retired at Antwerp. But hell - a player like Kim who's put so much into the game and been so selfless can retire however she wants to IMO. Even Stefi wavered between she was playing the USO, then she wasn't, then she was, then she suddenly announced her retirement when she left the sport.

Aaron.
Nov 25th, 2007, 09:27 PM
Idiots! Kim was not a offensive baseliner

she was a defensive/counter puncher

back in the day she was just defensive sorta like Jelena

she added more power to her game but shes not a offensive baseliner shes a defender and counter puncher

Kim-the-bomb
Nov 25th, 2007, 09:54 PM
Kim was naturally a VERY, VERY OFFENSIVE player. I have always heard, that, when she was much younger, she was a totally headless chicken bashing away all the balls she could get to. And she was hitting TONS of errors doing this. Her dad and coach(es) were only hoping that one day these balls would drop in, and on that day she would become a terrific player.
And indeed, one day the balls started hitting the court instead of the fence or the net. She began her fast rise on the rankings, but her coaches (Maes and later Dehous) still noticed she was lacking something to take the next steps.
Looking at this something, one should take into consideration the presence of the Williams sisters. Although Kim also lost to a bunch of other players, when she was on the rise, the Williams sisters were her most important rivals. They were THÉ players to beat. Both of them possessed supreme athletic abilities, just like Kim. Both were extremely offensive / aggressive players, just like Kim and more so. But the Williams sisters had (and have) one big flaw! And this was called “Unforced Errors”. And I guess Carl Maes also noticed this, and he thought consistency was the way to go with Kim.
In order for Kim to beat the Williams sisters (and other top players) there were actually two ways to go: Option A) Kim going from a offensive baseliner to an offensive all-court player, meaning she would have to go to and finish points at the net. Option B) Kim becoming more consistent then her rivals.
They tried option A, by playing lots of doubles. Kim enjoyed the doubles very much (because she liked the chit-chatting on court with her partner :lol: ) but it didn’t really pay off for her singles. Although one could argue that in the years she was playing doubles, her net game was improving, she never really got comfortable at the net. (Was she lacking net-talent? Didn’t she WANT to play a net game? Or was she just strongly believing she would win more matches staying back? We will never know.) And when her body started protesting against her playing a lot, the doubles went and so did the little amount of net play she had developed.
Option B proved to be the better for Kim in the end. Because Kim was a wonderful athlete, she did not see any problem in taking a tiny bit of her shots and just hitting a few more of them. Still playing offensive, she reduced her unforced errors and started beating every player in the world. Unfortunately she did not beat them every time.
Why? Well, the Williams sisters often stepped it up again, and their aggressive offensive played edged it out against the consistent offensive play of Kim. And more importantly !!! While Maes and Dehous were transforming Kim from a headless baseline basher, to a consistent offensive baseline player, there was this other coach called Rodriguez. He saw that consistency by itself wasn’t the thing that was going to win you matches against the hard hitters. So he developed his pupil from a more defensive baseline player (See note**) to an offensive all-court “super” player, that possesses every single shot in the book! (This is something the hardcore Juju fans can elaborate on :) )
I think Kim was an exceptional player in the way she possessed both high quality offensive and extremely high quality defensive play. But I guess she was a bit unlucky with the competition she faced, and in a lot of important matches this competition just proved themselves to strong for her.
I also think that after all her injuries she lost confidence in the athletic abilities, that won her tons of matches. After the USO-win the motivation was gone, the coach was gone and so was Killing Kim.

BUT KIM WAS NEVER EVER A DEFENSIVE PLAYER !!! She had great defence and against some of the real hard hitters she was the more defensive player on court, but she ALWAYS WAS AN OFFENSIVE BASELINER !!!


**Note: Juju already was a technically gifted player, with lots of options. But in her early days her forehand wasn’t really a weapon, she wasn’t hitting that hard and her tactics / choice of shots wasn’t fully developed yet.

Kim-the-bomb
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:01 PM
I do not wish to call anyone an idiot. But if you state that Kim was a defensive player, in my book you come pretty close.

DaMamaJama87
Nov 25th, 2007, 10:46 PM
All court player whose favourite part of the court was 5 feet behind the baseline. Other than that she was very skilled at hitting every shot in the book. At the beginning and the end of her career she was too impatient and went for too much. In the middle of her career, she combined awesome defence with some of the biggest strokes in the game and didn't just try to blast her opponent off the court.

sapir1434
Nov 25th, 2007, 11:03 PM
It's more like

Kim Clijsters: :hearts:

darice
Nov 27th, 2007, 11:33 AM
defensive and kimmie totally rocked at it! :D