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Knizzle
Nov 5th, 2003, 12:20 AM
Opening Matches Set For WTA Championship

Los Angeles - World No. 5 Jennifer Capriati will face Japan's Ai Sugiyama in her opening match at the season-ending WTA Championships as organizers on Tuesday released the schedule of play for the opening day Wednesday.

Eleventh-ranked Sugiyama booked her ticket to $3 million event in Los Angeles after reaching the semifinals of last week's Advanta Championships and will be the first Japanese player appearing at the elite eight-woman championships since Kimiko Date played in 1996.

The Williams sisters and Lindsay Davenport are out of the WTA Championships, leaving Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne in a race for the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Clijsters holds the top spot this week by a slim 135-point margin over No. 2 Henin-Hardenne. At stake in the season-ending championships is the $1 million winner's check and the chance to begin 2004 at the top.

``This started it all for me,'' said Clijsters, who upset the Williams sisters en route to winning last year's tournament.

``Staying No. 1 is not something that I focus on,'' she said Tuesday. ``If that's what I would be thinking about when I'm on the court, then I wouldn't be able to play my game and I wouldn't be able to focus. That's something I don't feel comfortable with.''

Clijsters became No. 1 for the first time in August when she won the WTA Tour stop in Carson, just down the freeway from Staples Center, where matches begin Wednesday night.

Henin-Hardenne had better results than Clijsters in the year's Grand Slam tournaments, winning the French and U.S. opens, each time over Clijsters. She was No. 1 for a week in late October, which ended Clijsters' 10-week stay at the top.

``I did everything I could this year; 2003 will be the year of my career,'' Henin-Hardenne said. ``The French Open was the victory of the emotion because it was my first victory in the Grand Slam. But the U.S. Open was more significant for me ... winning in New York, a tournament that I didn't like too much in the past.''

Clijsters avenged one of those losses by beating Henin-Hardenne in a three-set final at Filderstadt, Germany, last month. That win prevented Clijsters from losing her No. 1 ranking.

``All the focus and the attention is really on the Belgian girls,'' said Jennifer Capriati, the fourth seed. ``They're going back and forth for No. 1, and they've had the most results lately.''

And the most drama.

They share an uneasy relationship, having known each other since they traveled together as junior players.

Things took an ugly turn recently when Clijsters' father, Leo, suggested that Henin-Hardenne's sudden physical development was suspect. Henin-Hardenne strongly denied any insinuations of doping.

``When you know you work so hard, you always give everything for this and you win two Grand Slams in the same year, you make people jealous. It's normal, I understand it,'' Henin-Hardenne said.

``But you don't have to make it public. If these persons have any problem with me, they come to me and talk to me, I don't have any problems.''

She said no one has personally apologized to her.

Clijsters is reluctant to discuss the situation. Asked if they are friendly, she replied, ``Oh yeah.''

``Everything has been blown out of proportion,'' she said. ``I don't really want to say too much about it because otherwise it will flare up again.''

Henin-Hardenne was circumspect about the difficulty of being close with someone who does the same job and comes from the same small country.

``Have we ever been really, really close friends? That is the question,'' she said. ``It's not easy every day. The respect is the most important thing and there is a lot of respect between us.''

Henin-Hardenne arrived in Los Angeles with a cold and fever, which has hampered her practice time. She won't play her first match until Thursday.

``I'm feeling a little bit better,'' she said between coughs. ``One year ago I was maybe going to be scared about playing, but this year it's different. I have more experience.''

For the Belgians to reach Monday night's final, they'll have to win three matches each during round-robin play. Clijsters is the No. 1 seed and leads the Red Group, followed by Amelie Mauresmo, Elena Dementieva and Chanda Rubin.

Henin-Hardenne is the No. 2 seed and leads the Black Group, followed by Capriati, Anastasia Myskina and Ai Sugiyama.

Mauresmo and Rubin open play Wednesday night, followed by Capriati vs. Sugiyama and Clijsters vs. Dementieva.

The top two players in each group advance to the semifinals.

This year's field was reduced from 16 to eight players and the format was changed from single-elimination after poor attendance plagued the tournament last year, its first time in Los Angeles.

The Williams sisters have been out of action since July. Serena had knee surgery in August, and Venus has a strained abdominal muscle. They each plan to return in January, along with Davenport, who recently had left foot surgery.

harloo
Nov 5th, 2003, 12:35 AM
I have a feeling Kim is not gonna let Justine roll over her if they make it to the finals. Something about her,"Oh yeah" answer to the reporters asking her about Henin-Hardenne really makes me believe that she is tired of losing and she will go down fighting.

Go Kim! :)

shap_half
Nov 5th, 2003, 12:44 AM
I'm very impressed with Justine saying this:

``But you don't have to make it public. If these persons have any problem with me, they come to me and talk to me, I don't have any problems.''

And Kim is acting like a fake stuck up little girl. I'm sorry. She's making all these comments and her Dad is making all these comments that they know to be hurtful yet I don't see or hear "nice" Kim making any strides to apologize to Justine whom she's supposedly friendly with. please :rolleyes:

I hope Justine demolishes her ass!!!!!

yALLEZ!!!!!!!!

Andrew.
Nov 5th, 2003, 12:48 AM
Ditto.

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2003, 01:01 AM
I'm very impressed with Justine saying this:

``But you don't have to make it public. If these persons have any problem with me, they come to me and talk to me, I don't have any problems.''




hmm, she only seems to feel that way when people have a problem with her but when she has a problem well then she doesn't mind saying it to the reporters, ex. Saying Lindsay faked injury.

Hmm, she didn't come out and say this when her coach was going around saying things about Venus and Serena?

Hypocrite!

Live by the sword, die by the sword Justine. :rolleyes:

shap_half
Nov 5th, 2003, 01:10 AM
First and foremost, I don't think Justine is responsible for what her coaches say about Serena and Venus - I'm holding Kim responsible for WHAT she says about Justine. And I think that if Kim and Justine are 'friendly' like Kim says they are Kim should not have said anything for that is not the way you treat your friend. And that should not be how your father treats your friend out of jealousy. :rolleyes: Justine never made any comments about being friends with Venus and Serena. And what exactly did Carlos say about VandS? Did he go outright and question their abilities and accuse them of taking steroids - what Carlos said I doubt where assumptions.

And you're right about the Lindsay thing, Justine should confront Lindsay about that but I think Justine probably feels foolish about having said that very shortly after she said it.

bandabou
Nov 5th, 2003, 01:25 AM
Uhmmm....if Justine canīt hold her coach,whom she is PAYING, responsible for his words...how can Kim hold her FATHER!! responsible for his words?! :scratch:

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2003, 01:49 AM
I never said Justine was responsible for what her coach said but she didn't come out and say people should not say stuff like that to the press when confronted with what her coach said. This is my point. When arrows are slung from her camp she's quite but when arrows are slung at her camp well she thinks people should do this one on one and not in the public.

She only came up with this theory when the criticism started to be aimed at her.

Her coach accused Venus & Serena of harrassing Justine and Kicking her bag or some other bullsh*t and he said Justine behaved the way she did in FO because of spite. Now if that is not enough to get you to say that we need to not say these things in public but address the individuals well then she doesn't need to say it now, imo.

So I say suck it up Justine. You live by the sword, You die by the sword. :shrug:

~ The Leopard ~
Nov 5th, 2003, 01:51 AM
:zzz:

TennisHack
Nov 5th, 2003, 02:54 AM
"When you know you work so hard, you always give everything for this and you win two Grand Slams in the same year, you make people jealous. It's normal, I understand it," Henin-Hardenne said.

Like player, like fans, I see. :rolleyes:

"But you don't have to make it public. If these persons have any problem with me, they come to me and talk to me, I don't have any problems."

She said no one has personally apologized to her.

And why should they? Why should Kim have to apologize for her father if Justine doesn't have to apologize for her coach's similiarly stupid remarks?

You have a target on your back when you're at the top, Justine. Time to suck it up and grow a thick-skin -- in this, I am in total agreement with Rocketta.

bandabou
Nov 5th, 2003, 02:56 AM
Yep....when you are on the top you have to be very strong. Donīt play hide and seek and they cry wolf!

Rocketta
Nov 5th, 2003, 03:39 AM
I am in total agreement with Rocketta.

Is that a first? :eek:

;)

:lol:

kyk710
Nov 5th, 2003, 03:47 AM
And Kim is acting like a fake stuck up little girl. I'm sorry. She's making all these comments




I can't seem to recall all these supposed comments.... Can you please refresh my memory? I don't personally like Kim (at all) but she is anything but fake or stuck up. I think she's one of the most humble players on the tour.... But maybe I'm wrong

treufreund
Nov 5th, 2003, 04:53 AM
justine's comments are just honest. kim is the one who has accused justine of things she never did! I like Kim and am not going to attack her but I am getting tired of people putting their spin on everything Justine does. :rolleyes:

TennisHack
Nov 5th, 2003, 05:16 AM
Is that a first? :eek:

;)

:lol:

LOL, nope, we've had a few agreements in Non-Tennis ;)

persond
Nov 5th, 2003, 07:03 AM
I'm very impressed with Justine saying this:

``But you don't have to make it public. If these persons have any problem with me, they come to me and talk to me, I don't have any problems.''

And Kim is acting like a fake stuck up little girl. I'm sorry. She's making all these comments and her Dad is making all these comments that they know to be hurtful yet I don't see or hear "nice" Kim making any strides to apologize to Justine whom she's supposedly friendly with. please :rolleyes:

I hope Justine demolishes her ass!!!!!

yALLEZ!!!!!!!!



Shap_half, I hope you do realize, that you have to "bring asss" to "demolish ass"...!!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

persond
Nov 5th, 2003, 07:10 AM
I never said Justine was responsible for what her coach said but she didn't come out and say people should not say stuff like that to the press when confronted with what her coach said. This is my point. When arrows are slung from her camp she's quite but when arrows are slung at her camp well she thinks people should do this one on one and not in the public.

She only came up with this theory when the criticism started to be aimed at her.

Her coach accused Venus & Serena of harrassing Justine and Kicking her bag or some other bullsh*t and he said Justine behaved the way she did in FO because of spite. Now if that is not enough to get you to say that we need to not say these things in public but address the individuals well then she doesn't need to say it now, imo.

So I say suck it up Justine. You live by the sword, You die by the sword. :shrug:



Rocketta, what more do you expect from "shap_half"...???? He'll defend to the end...but, hey, it'll all come back to "haunt" Ms. Justilying" in the end...!!! I can't wait for the new season to begin to see how "Madame Tulip" holds up under the onslaught that the Sisters will bring...!!! :lol: :lol:

persond
Nov 5th, 2003, 07:15 AM
justine's comments are just honest. kim is the one who has accused justine of things she never did! I like Kim and am not going to attack her but I am getting tired of people putting their spin on everything Justine does. :rolleyes:


Don't you think you should use the word "honest" rather sparingly when talking about Justine...??? :rolleyes: :rolleyes: