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By Mark Hodgkinson (Filed: 12/08/2003)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ma...ij12.xml&sSheet=/sport/2003/08/12/ixtenn.html
Daily Telegraph London

The giggler should be giggling, yesterday collecting the world No 1 ranking. But Kim Clijsters' preparations for the US Open - there is a blank on her CV against Grand Slam titles - are being overshadowed by a major spat with her fellow baseball-capped Belgian, Justine Henin-Hardenne. This week in Toronto, the story could run and run.

There is history. This is not - as believed - the first serious slanging-match between the pair, just the only row that has burst in public.

Carl Maes, who tutored Clijsters for seven years until May 2002, said that the two players - top and bottom of the Toronto draw - have had a string of heated exchanges behind the scenes.

Still, Clijsters was suddenly having a pop at a colleague in the media room. Even her boyfriend, Lleyton Hewitt, hasn't done that yet (he reserves his bile for officialdom). Last week in San Diego, the 20-year-old had accused Henin-Hardenne, 21, of faking injuries to distract opponents.

Maes said that earlier arguments between the two Belgians have been kept out of the press because of "an understanding" that he had with Carlos Rodriguez, Henin-Hardenne's coach since she was 14.

"We just didn't want the press to get hold of what is an intense rivalry - and then just blow it out of all proportion. If these incidents had got out, we knew how bad it would have been. But now it has got out. This could seriously affect their relationship," Maes said.

"Girls amongst themselves are always difficult, maybe a little bitchy and worse than boys. There were situations when I had to tell Kim to calm down, that Justine hadn't meant something or that there had been a misunderstanding. I'm sure that Carlos was doing the same."

With both Williams sisters injured for the US Open (which starts in under a fortnight), Clijsters acknowledged the obvious yesterday, that Henin-Hardenne will pose the biggest threat. "She's the main challenger," she said. "But if I play her, I'm definitely looking forward to revenge."

Backtrack two months to the French Open and the first all-Belgian women's final in Grand Slam history. Watched by King Albert II, Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne embraced over the net at the close of the piece, seemingly uniting a country divided by language, that Franco-Flemish schism.

But, over on the North American hard-court circuit, there was a fleeting glimpse of how their relationship is really played-out. This is one of those moments when we realise that celebrities aren't always best friends.

Clijsters had been simmering for some months. She snapped after the climax in San Diego. Henin-Hardenne, the world No 3, had claimed that she needed a fresh bandage on a foot blister and took a five-minute medical time-out. She returned to collect the next two sets.

"It's not the first time she has done this - I think she probably had to do it in every one of our matches," Clijsters said. "It's a sign that she is not at her best and so she has to resort to other means to get out of scrapes. It is to her credit that she is able to turn matches around by acting in this way."

Henin-Hardenne maintains that the blisters were real. "She can think what she wants," she bristled, but her sportsmanship has already been in the dock this season. Serena Williams accused Henin-Hardenne in Roland Garros of "lying and fabricating".

For a country of 10 million to spit out two famous women is astonishing. Observers have been too quick to highlight the common ground: baseline-huggers, blonde hair, baseball caps, same passport.

But, for starters, it is akin to an Englishwoman and Scotswoman out on court. The Belgian tennis federation are run as two separate linguistic halves. So, with Clijsters from the Flemish-speaking north and Henin-Hardenne from the French-speaking south, they have grown up looking for differences.

Their personalities mean they can never be friends (but they aren't enemies either). Clijsters is open and girlie, bonding with hackettes about boyfriends not doing any housework (Hewitt always tries to get out of the washing-up, apparently). With her father a former footballer of the year and mum a name in gymnastics, she is well-versed on celebrity.

Henin-Hardenne's mum died when she was 12 and she is estranged from dad. She is shy, and a little cold. While Clijsters remains unmarried after more than three years with Hewitt, Henin became Mrs Henin-Hardenne last November. She travels with husband Pierre-Yves, leaving her slightly isolated from the locker-room buzz.

Henin-Hardenne puffed that Clijsters was a bad loser. But she isn't. Even if she may be a little miffed that her rival won a Grand Slam title before she did. And that Henin-Hardenne seems to have the edge, having won three of their last four matches. Also, had Hewitt geed up Clijsters?

Whatever. Clijsters, who had to win Los Angeles on Sunday night to end Serena Williams's 57-week reign, had "goosebumps" at the honour, even more so when organisers lumped a huge, floral tribute - shaped as the No 1 - on court. She later cut up a cake and handed out slices to the front few rows.

Hewitt also got animated, sending a flurry of text messages from the golf course to her parents. The other downer - apart from the row - was a reminder that Clijsters is the only player since the WTA introduced the ranking system in 1975 to reach the top without having won a Grand Slam.

But, after Blisters-gate, the received wisdom on Clijsters looks increasingly suspect. The line is that she is "too nice" to win one of the four majors, that despite a glance at the ranking print-out and her two appearances in the Paris final. "It's bullshit," Maes said. "Too nice? You don't get to No 1 in the world if you're too nice."
 

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Oops I guess this girly girly "frienship" that the belgian fans try to pass off is just a big media fake out. :lol:


GO KIM!
 

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did anyone ever buy this whole "belgian sisters" bullshit anyway? these are athletes, they're highly competitive and real friendship amongst players is a rare thing, i dare to claim.
 

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MEOW! The claws are out!

I knew their relationship couldn't have been all that friendly. ;)

This is almost funny. So different from Martina Hingis vs Serena Williams, because this wasn't (for once) a media-provoked affair.

It's very good PR with the US Open coming up and no defending champion in the field.
 

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Beat said:
did anyone ever buy this whole "belgian sisters" bullshit anyway? these are athletes, they're highly competitive and real friendship amongst players is a rare thing, i dare to claim.
Indeed. Why is this so surprising? :confused:
 

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Beat said:
did anyone ever buy this whole "belgian sisters" bullshit anyway? these are athletes, they're highly competitive and real friendship amongst players is a rare thing, i dare to claim.
But wait...I thought Venus and Serena were the only ones that didn't get along with people on tour :rolleyes:
 

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Well anyone that did think they were really good friends was kidding themselves...

However, I didn't think that there would be many heated arguments behind closed doors.
But then again, I actually have no idea what actually goes on in those locker rooms etc...

I have to say that I fall on Kim's side when it comes to the gamesmanship issue. I think that there
is an element of it in Justine's play
 

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JonBcn said:
Everyone in the tennis world has known for years that they dont like each other; I'm surprised its taken so long for someone like Maes to finally said it out loud.
I love this!!! This is only good for the WTA and Kim and JuJu
 

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Kim don´t u know revenge is bad driving force?! don´t focus only on Justine, because before you know Venus will end up in your draw! Then you won´t even GET to play Justine! :lol:
 

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Here we go again... :rolleyes:

They keep blowing this up and turn words around, taking them out of their context,...
Like : "Henin-Hardenne puffed that Clijsters was a bad loser. " Justine didn't say that! She said she thought Kim said those things because she was disappointed after her loss and she understood that reaction. That's something completely different than calling her a bad loser!
On Belgian TV Carl Maes didn't say anything like that. He's the one who always has been saying that their is a healthy rivalry between those two that makes them motivate eachother. But that they're not close friends either.
Why would he tell the British press other things than Belgian tv?


Anyway, I think the media could be really disappointed if there's no "incident" in their next match. Kim already reacted on the 'incident' in her diary on the website. That only confirmed my thought that the media just blew the whole thing up and Kim and Justine are not in this major fight like journalists want us to believe...
 

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That don't surprise me, when Justine beat for the first time Kim in Rosmalen 2001. Kim refuses to accolade Justine after the match and blame the bad rebounds for her loss.
Before the final of Kim against Capriati, the commentator says that Kim says that she would still practise with Capriati the day of the final.
Dominique Van Roost says she doesn't believe her because Kim also said that to her in Luxembourg but finally didn't do it when they played that final.
I remember also that a poster said that Kim was mad and didn't say nice things when she lost a 1r of RG against Dominique.
Well I'm fed up with all this "Kim is so nice" :mad: :mad:
What she says after San Diego, it's not the fault of the journalist, it's not the journalist who obliged her to lie and said that Justine has done it in every match against her.
What she says in her diary is to save her image of nice girl.
And don't forget they have a sponsor in commun "Belgacom" :cool:

OOps I forgot also her comments after Rosmalen this year saying that Justine should have end the match.
WTF why Justine would have continue and risking aggravating her injury by slipping just before Wimbledon.
And by the way, it's not Justine who pretended to be great friends before, it's the "so nice Kim" :cool:
 

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Can we really expect that a French Belgian and a Flemish Belgian are going to have that much in common? Only technically are they even from the same country! And Justine's not really friendly with anyone on tour, she's a good sportswoman but that's just her personality, so why is it a surprise that she's not friends with Clisters?
 

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spudrsca said:
That don't surprise me, when Justine beat for the first time Kim in Rosmalen 2001. Kim refuses to accolade Justine after the match and blame the bad rebounds for her loss.
Before the final of Kim against Capriati, the commentator says that Kim says that she would still practise with Capriati the day of the final.
Dominique Van Roost says she doesn't believe her because Kim also said that to her in Luxembourg but finally didn't do it when they played that final.
I remember also that a poster said that Kim was mad and didn't say nice things when she lost a 1r of RG against Dominique.
Well I'm fed up with all this "Kim is so nice" :mad: :mad:
What she says after San Diego, it's not the fault of the journalist, it's not the journalist who obliged her to lie and said that Justine has done it in every match against her.
What she says in her diary is to save her image of nice girl.
And don't forget they have a sponsor in commun "Belgacom" :cool:

OOps I forgot also her comments after Rosmalen this year saying that Justine should have end the match.
WTF why Justine would have continue and risking aggravating her injury by slipping just before Wimbledon.
And by the way, it's not Justine who pretended to be great friends before, it's the "so nice Kim" :cool:
WOW, I never knew about this tidbit. Thanks for enlightening me, spud.
 

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Well, well, well finally someone tells the "real" story. This explains alot. How they were supposed to be such good friends, and you hear reports Kim didn't go to Justine's wedding, and one day you hear they aren't really good friends, and the next they are. I wonder why Carlos Rodriguez hasn't spoken out against Clijsters as he has against Serena???
 

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vogus said:
And Justine's not really friendly with anyone on tour
Justine is very close with Amelie Mauresmo and Nathalie Dechy. She repeated it during an interview with a Canadian sports radio this week. Here's a link to the interview:
http://www.fan590.com/eprise/main/fan/index.html

And here are pictures during the player party in Toronto:
one with Amelie

one with Nathalie



The players who were present at Justine's wedding were Nathalie Dechy and Sandrine Testud. Kim turned down the invitation :rolleyes:
 

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First of all I'm going to point out that I'm biased in favor of my favorite WTA players, Serena, Kim and Jennifer.

However, having observed these players, they have become my favorites because I feel that in addition to being gifted players that they also have been exemplary sportswomen. That is why I like them.

So it comes as no surprise that I'm siding with Kim in this matter. I've always had this "feeling" about Justine, a little nagging voice inside me saying she was not a nice person. Same little feeling I have about at least one other player (who shall remain nameless for the moment.) The Roland Garros debacle with Serena solidified my suspicions...you can watch that tape over and over and turn off the sound and just watch the actions and expressions...it says it all.

And I never bought into the 'friends' thing between Kim and Justine. If they were such 'good friends' there would be more spontaneous statements of such between the two of them and they would likely be caught doing things together off court, much like how you see Kim coming out to support Jennifer Capriati in her matches recently. (yes, I know they have the same sponsor, but I saw Kim watching Jen's match, and she didn't look like she was just performing a contract duty.)

I don't know if Kim and Serena are friendly to each other or if Jen and Serena are friendly to each other, but it's interesting to note that at least two of my favorite players seem to be really good friends on tour.
 

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Kim and her declarations, She has no regrets after her huge choke against Serena and is not disappointed. She is not disappointerd after her loss against Justine at RG.
She didn't think about the rankings.
She said that her goal wasn't to be no1 ranking while her grandmother say the opposite but just play for fun.
Yeah for sure :lol: :lol: :rolleyes:
If you listen to Kim, She is friends with everyone :rolleyes:
Yeah, for sure :lol: :p
 
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