Re: 2008 Kim articles, news
An Article on Kim and Martina:
Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters will be Missed
MUMBAI: One was the prodigy whose Grand Slam wins began from Down Under, the other the daughter they adopted. Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters have a few things in common.
Both come from sporting families; like Hingis, Kim announced an earlier retirement. And they share a special bond with Australia.
Much loved by the Aussies, they will be the big misses as the 2008 edition of the Australian Open that gets underway on January 14 in Melbourne.
Martina, at one point, owned the tournament. She re-wrote the record books in 1997 when she beat Frenchwoman Mary Pierce in straight sets (6-2 6-2) to win the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam title, in the process becoming the youngest Grand Slam singles winner of the 20th century.
She was only 16 years and 3 months old then.
Her special association with Australia continued and Hingis made it to the final of the tournament six times in a row (from 1997-2002), winning the title three times (1997, 1998 and 1999).
In fact, when she made her comeback into the sport in 2006 after a long hiatus due to injury, she almost strolled to the last eight before losing to ‘Aussie Kim’ (Kim Clijsters) in straight sets. But she still managed to lay her hands on the silverware, winning the mixed doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi.
The Swiss Miss will now be a no-show in Melbourne, having been banned for two years for testing positive for cocaine use during Wimbledon 2007. She followed the ban with announcing her retirement at the age of 27.
A sad end to a talent, that took the tennis world by storm more than 10 years ago. But Hingis was never the Miss Nice of tennis and courted controversy like no other. There again, she seemed to make all the news at the Australian Open.
On the eve of her 1999 Australian Open final match against Amelie Mauresmo, Hingis told reporters, “She’s here with her girlfriend. She is half-man already.” For that remark, she got a lot of flak but the title was once again hers. She even won the doubles title teaming with Russia’s Anna Kournikova.
Kim, never had such a problem. She has often been spoken of as the nicest player on the Tour. In fact, in response to the critics referring to her as too nice, Clijsters once remarked, “You don’t have to hate your opponents to beat them.”
Kim’s love story with Australia actually began with her love story with top Aussie tennis star Lleyton Hewitt. She has even been nicknamed Aussie Kim.
Since then, the Aussies have supported Kim every time she has played on Australian soil, even after the couple ended their engagement in 2003.
Although she didn’t enjoy Hingis-like success at the tournament, she made four semi-final appearances (2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007) and reached the final in 2004 where she lost to her Belgian countrywoman Justine Henin in a hard-fought three setter.
In her last appearance at the Australian Open in 2007, Kim lost to Maria Sharapova in the semifinal but walked off the court teary-eyed and to a standing ovation. Kim may have only on Grand Slam title (US Open 2005) to her name. But to Australia, she, like Martina, always meant a bit more.