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Justinator
Jan 18th, 2002, 01:53 AM
Younger Clijsters makes mark

By MARGIE McDONALD

18jan02

The Australian

THE CLIJSTERS sisters are both in Melbourne but are not yet a double act.
While Kim, the world No.5 and third seed in the Australian Open singles, does her thing at the Rod Laver Arena and surrounding courts, sister Elke is 20km away but showing she's of the same ilk.

She became the only qualifier yesterday to make it through to the quarter-finals of the ITF Australian Hardcourt Junior Championships in Glen Waverley.

Unfortunately she lost to Russian Vera Douchevina 6-4 6-4 but she is still alive in the doubles semi-finals with French partner Tatiana Golovin.

And the strength of her showing at the Nottinghill Pinewood Tennis Club means she's earned a "special entry" into the main draw of the Australian Open Junior championships starting on Monday at Melbourne Park.

It couldn't have been a better present for her 17th birthday today.

If sister Kim, 19, lives up to her seeding, the pair will be in the same arena together. But it will be a while yet before they make the same tournament draws or play doubles together.

Elke is ranked in the 650s on the WTA computer and No.377 in juniors.

"Pretty bad isn't it," she told The Australian yesterday.

"But I joined up with Ann Devries last September as coach and already I feel the improvement in three months."

She played a lot of ITF tier two and three tournaments in 1999 and 2000 but lost interest in the game last year before hooking up with Devries and now feels like she has a new start.

"I enjoy tennis again so it's good," Clijsters said.

She also has the perfect role model her older sister.

"I like (Lindsay) Davenport. She's a very professional player. She's also very nice and relaxed on the court," she said.

"But I admire my sister a lot probably because she's my sister but she's young and she's done so many things already.

"When we were young we'd fight a lot but now we're really close and we're always looking forward to the time that we can be together."

She was courtside at Roland Garros last year when Clijsters snr became the first Belgian to play in a grand slam final by beating another Belgian Justine Henin in the semi-finals.

Elke was back for more hand-wringing when Kim played Jennifer Capriati in the French Open final.

"I'm more nervous when she's playing than when I play. I don't know why, but that's just the way it is," she said.

"I was so proud of her being in the finals. I really wanted her to win because she deserved it."

And Elke feels the same about her spot in the Australian Open Junior draw next week.

She knows that in the past her surname has given her a few freebies.

"They give me wild-cards because they know I can play well but they also know with my name, people will come and watch," she said.

"So I think I do get some wild-cards more easily than other players.

"But it's also pressure for me because so many people see the name and they come to see 'The sister of Kim' and they expect a really good player.

"Now I've learnt to live with it."



http://foxsports.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5000,3610250%255E9754%255E%255Enbv,00.html

Martian KC
Jan 18th, 2002, 02:02 AM
I hope Elke qualifies for the Australian Juniors.:)

carot
Jan 18th, 2002, 05:26 AM
Such a sweetie she seems :)

and ann devries... well :drool:

Brαm
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:24 PM
Lovely article!

Good luck Elke :kiss:

Martian KC
Jan 19th, 2002, 09:15 PM
Elke/Tatiana won doubles 3-6 6-4 6-1 against Myriam and Daniela Casanova in the final.:)

Justinator
Jan 19th, 2002, 10:46 PM
Wow, well done girls! :bounce: :bounce: