I hope it makes sense. Sometimes it gets hard translating literally (so, I didn't
Source: De Standaard, October 23, 2002
Interview: Kim Clijsters finds balance between happiness and Porsches
Luxemburg – We are given 30 minutes and end up getting an hour and a half. At the end of a tough year, Kim Clijsters is all up for it. Next on the schedule: battling it out with the top-16 at the Masters in LA; this week, the relaxed Luxemburg tournament. Clijsters talks freely. About the house she is building down the street from her parents, about marriage, about tennis, naturally. But also about money. “I bought Euro Disney stocks with my first price money. A bad investment. But I was still young,” she says. Now she is old, 19 to be exact. Ranked fifth in the world, multi-millionaire in euros, Lleyton Hewitt’s girlfriend.
Q: Your third year as a professional tennis player has almost come to an end. Has tennis become a routine?
A: Absolutely not. There were enough new things. The shoulder injury, changing coaches, my new trainer… Luckily the injury is completely gone and I get along really well with Marc De Hous and Evelyne Coppens. You know what gets boring? The traveling, the packing and unpacking, the checking in and out of hotels. But the game of tennis I love too much. And I notice that I get really bored after only two or three days at home in Bree.
Q: Not a lot of routine then. And magic?
A: There’s plenty of that too. I still get amazed sometimes. For example, when Steffi Graf starts talking to me when she comes to support Andre Agassi. John McEnroe once came up to talk to me too. I would never approach those people myself. But I do appreciate people like that telling me that I’m on the right track.
Q: Next is Luxemburg and the Masters. Has your year been successful?
A: I think so. Semifinal at the Australian Open, winning Hamburg and Filderstadt. I stayed in the top-10, despite a serious injury. Winning Sports Woman of the Year? [yearly sports award in Belgium] I never think about it; and I don’t deserve it this year. I would vote for Kim Gevaert. [Belgian runner]
Q: And next year your dethrone Venus and Serena?
A: Honestly, I think they will still be one and two at the end of 2003. But they can be beat. That was proven this year. Justine beat Serena in Berlin, I beat Venus in Hamburg.
Q: What about 2004? Olympic Games?
A: My first reaction is no. The Games will be played on clay, which is not ideal right before the US Open. I also don’t think tennis is a real Olympic sport. We have our grand slams. I prefer the US Open to the Olympic Games.
Q: Back to the present. How did you come to Luxemburg?
A: We drove here from Zurich on Sunday morning. No, I did not do any of the driving. My mother and coach took turns. I like traveling by car. I have fear of heights, fear of flying. That should give you an indication of my response to the suggestion of shoving Lleyton and me in a hot air balloon to promote tennis. Don’t laugh, that was a real suggestion. Just like some Baywatch kind of thing in Miami. That’s not my thing. I rather teach kids’ tennis clinics.
Q: So you prefer the car. But you didn’t drive here in a Porsche…
A: Filderstadt’s Porsche? [laughs] No. I asked Lindsay Davenport, who won the tournament last year. Turns out you can choose: keep all of the $97,000 price money or that amount minus the value of the car. I’d rather keep the money. I don’t dream of Porches. I don’t dream of tennis, either. I dream of a happy life. Like everyone else, I guess.
Q: Cars, money… Do ever think about the fact that you’ll have enough money to never have to work after your tennis career?
A: I would be lying if I’d tell you that money isn’t important. If I keep playing at this level, I won’t have to worry about money. I could retire in Florida, but I don’t see myself doing that. Becoming a tournament director, like Anke Huber in Filderstadt, I could see myself doing. Or working with children. We’ll see. But yes, I do keep track of my personal finances. I know the what’s in my bank account.
Q: Not how your stocks are doing?
A: I don’t invest in the stock market. The Euro Disney stocks were a disappointment, although I was very proud of having them at the time. I am building a house right now and I am shocked how much that costs. That’s what I am investing in now. The house is almost finished. I should be able to move in after the Australian Open.
Q: Justine Henin is getting married on November 16. Did you…
A: [interrupts]… I am already looking forward to Justine’s wedding pictures and I am trying to figure out what to get her for a present. Too bad I can’t go; I leave for Australia the day before. First a two-week vacation, then start preparing. I’ll only return to Belgium for the Antwerp tournament. I missed it this year because of the injury, but I really want to play for my hometown crowd. And play doubles with Justine. We’ve been wanting to do that for a while, but something always comes up
Q: But, err, your own marriage plans?
A: Lleyton and I are not in a hurry; we’re still enjoying our boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. There is plenty of time left to become husband and wife, mom and dad, granddad and grandma…