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Anos depois, Clijsters vence o Australian Open e conquista o direito de ser “Aussie Kim”

Kim Clijsters poderia ter se tornado de fato a  “Aussie Kim” anos atrás, quando estava no auge da sua primeira carreira e era noiva de Lleyton Hewitt.

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Era 2004, Clijsters tinha 21 anos e Hewitt 24. Os dois haviam acabado de anunciar o noivado (fim de 2003) – Hewitt fez o pedido em um romântico passeio de barco na baía de Sidney – e Kim chegava à final do Grand Slam australiano. Era a quarta decisão da sua carreira, com derrota nas outras três anteriores.

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Mas, a vitória ficou com a compatriota Justine Henin, que nesta semana anunciou a aposentadoria das quadras.

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A história todo mundo conhece. Clijsters e Hewitt terminaram o noivado no fim de 2004, poucos meses antes do casamento marcado para fevereiro de 2005.

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Naquele mesmo 2005, Hewitt se casou com a atriz Bec Cartwright e Clijsters conquistou o seu primeiro Grand Slam, o US Open. Dois anos depois anunciaria a sua aposentadoria, para se tornar mãe de Jada e se casar, na Bélgica com o jogador de basquete Brian Lynch.

Dois anos se passaram e a tenista belga resolveu voltar a competir.

E desde meados de 2009 não para de ganhar.

Fez uma rápida passagem pela Austrália, no ano passado, sendo eliminada na terceira rodada por Nadia Petrova, fazendo apenas um game, no que descreveu como uma das piores derrotas da carreira.

De lá para cá, ganhou dois US Opens, o Masters de Doha e agora o seu primeiro Australian Open.

Mesmo em todo este período longe das quadras e de Lleyton Hewitt, a belga nunca deixou de ser querida pelos australianos. Muitos ficaram constrangidos, logo depois da separação, de chamá-la de “Aussie ,” como a chamavam quando estava por lá com Hewitt.

Mas, há algumas rodadas, acho que sentindo que a probabilidade de um título estava perto e sem australianos para torcer, o público e a mídia, voltaram a chamá-la de “Aussie Kim.”

Com a vitória sobre Li Na na final, de virada, por 3/6 6/3 6/3, Clijsters, na cerimônia de premiação, seis anos depois de quase ter se tornado australiana e acrescentado Hewitt ao seu sobrenome, finalmente se sentiu uma “Aussie Kim,” com o troféu do Australian Open em mãos, o quarto Grand Slam da carreira.

Além do fato de ter este laço estreito com a Austrália, desde a época de adolescência quando começou a namorar Hewitt, Clijsters ainda homenageou Evonne Goolagong, a australiana campeã de Grand Slam que assim como Clijsters, foi vencedora de Grand Slam ainda mãe, usando um uniforme verde do estilo que ela usava anos atrás.

Muitas perguntas foram feitas a uma sorridente e vibrante Clijsters logo após o jogo, na coletiva de imprensa da campeã.

Reproduzo aqui os trechos mais interessantes sobre Jogos Olímpicos de Londres, Aussie Kim, Evonne Goolagong, Jada, o Dentista, a emoção desta final, etc..

K  Clijsters – 29 01 11 1

An interview with:

KIM CLIJSTERS

Q.  Will you be back to defend the title

next year?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I hope

so.

Q.  A tear in your eye at the end of the

match.  How emotional was your fourth

Grand Slam win?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, they’re

all emotional.  Obviously, you know, I think what

overwhelms me is that it’s so intense up until,

you know, that last shot, and then all of a sudden

it’s finished.  Then it’s just like a big relief.

Yeah, you know, the disbelief

maybe a little bit too it’s over and that I was able

to turn it around is what makes it all so special.

Q.  How did you turn it around?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I mean,

she did everything better than me in that first set.

I mean, obviously her groundstrokes were

heavier, deeper.  She served better.  She

returned better.

So I think, you know, she was

playing really, really well – probably the best that

I’ve ever played against her, or that she played

against me.

I tried to just, you know, think

after that first set, you know, like, What can I do

differently so I can maybe break her rhythm a

little bit, try to make her think out there a little bit

more?  So I tried to mix it up a little bit, put some

slices in, also hit a few higher shots that, you

know, kind of just made her make some unforced

errors.

Yeah, I saw her get a little bit

aggravated, and just tried to hang in there.

Q.  We rarely see you so pumped up

or emotional during a match.  Does this one

mean more than some of the others?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, I wouldn’t

say more, but obviously I think ’cause it was such

an intense match.  I don’t think I had that in one

of the Grand Slams where I’ve won.  Obviously,

I’ve played intense matches.  Probably my first

Grand Slam final at the French was a very

intense one.

But to win it in this way means it

a lot.  I think it’s that moment that overwhelms

you, where your mind has been so focused, I’m

fighting every shot, running a lot of balls down,

and it’s finished.  That’s what makes it just nice,

and I guess this big relief that kind of just, yeah,

overwhelms you a little bit.

Q.  This year I read that this could be

your last full-time year.  Then I read that you

want to come back and play the Olympic

Games very much next year.  Then that you

may become a mother for the second time in

2013 and come back in 2015.

KIM CLIJSTERS:  That I never

said.

I do think this is probably my last

full season that I’ll be playing.  I also would like to

try and keep going until the Olympics.  I’ve never

played the Olympics, which is in a year and a

half time, or a little under a year and a half.

Yeah, so and then we’ll see after that.

But, uhm, when I started, started

again, I kind of had the Olympics in my mind.  I

wanted to try to keep going till then.  I obviously

never expected things to be going so well so

quickly.  I thought it was going to take a little bit

more time to get back into the rhythm or get back

into my routine of traveling with a family and

everything.

But, no, I mean, the first two

were probably right that you read, and the next

two of having a baby is probably right, too.  But

then coming back, that one’s not right (laughter).


Q.  How do you explain these Grand

Slam wins to your daughter?  Does she

understand what you’ve done tonight?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, no, which

is fine obviously.  I mean, to her it really doesn’t

matter.  I mean, she’s always excited.  Although

when she saw the trophy, she was like, Who is

that trophy for?  And then she’s like, Did you win

that?  I’m like, Yeah.

I mean, to her, she knows I play

tennis, but that’s it.  She doesn’t know everything

else that comes with it, winning, losing.  You

know, obviously, I mean, she’s seen me like a

little bit disappointed and stuff.

She asks, Why are you

disappointed?  I explain to her that I lost.  But, I

mean, it’s not a big deal for her.

Q.  Li Na said she felt like she was

playing in Belgium tonight.

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Really?

Q.  Because of the support for you.

Did you feel that?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  No.  I mean,

there was a lot of support, but I think it was nicely

divided.  I think there was obviously a lot of

Chinese or Asian people out there that wanted to

live this moment with her.  And I felt that support,

too.

But it was nice.  I think it was

nice to see that culture in this sport, because

obviously over the years, I mean, it’s been

America, it’s been Europe, it’s all been very kind

of divided between those two continents.

It’s nice to kind of see that Asia

is, yeah, starting to – and especially China – is

starting to get recognized in this sport, too.

Q.  Before your comeback you didn’t

go into the Grand Slams as the out-and-out

favorite.  The last two you have and you’ve

won.  Can you talk about contending with that

feeling?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, I mean,

I’ve always — not always.  Obviously, the last few

years that I was playing, when I was No. 1 or top

3, I’ve always been kind of one of the players

that could win it.

When I was younger, it kind of

overwhelmed me a little bit.  The pressure or the

nerves that I put upon myself got sometimes in

the way of what I was trying to do out there and

what I had to focus on.

I think now that I’m a little bit

older, I mean, with all due respect, a lot of things

that are being said in here or that, you know, the

pressure leaves as soon as I leave through that

door.  I think I was able to do that throughout this

week, too.

I mean, I know how hard it is to

stay fit throughout two weeks, to try and be

focused, and to try to not have a bad day like I

had last year here.  You have to just try to stay

really focused.  There’s a lot of other players who

will try and achieve the same thing.

I was able to do that really well,

try to just focus on what I have to do out there,

try to focus on trying to be the best Kim out there

and not worry about the impact or the favorite

role.  I mean, that’s not going to make me play

better or play worse.  I just have to try and focus

on tennis.

Q.  What happened to your teeth at

the airport?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  To my tooth?

Yeah, it chipped off.  That’s what happened.  I

was eating a rice cracker, actually, nothing hard.

Just a nice, soft rice cracker.  I thought there was

like a piece of rice that that wasn’t cooked well or

something, and I just spat it out.  I felt my tooth

not being there completely, so I was like, Oh,

boy.

Yes, went to the dentist very

quickly.

Q.  Are you going to name the

mystery dentist?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  I actually don’t

remember his name.  He was somewhere near

Chapel Street.

Q.  How big of a goal is it to win

Roland Garros and Wimbledon?  Are you

playing for different things other than just

major titles?  Just for the love of competing,

or would you really like to get those two other

slams?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Look, of

course.  I mean, I’m not going to sit here and be

like, No, that wouldn’t be nice.  But to be honest,

I really haven’t thought about it.  It’s a little early I

think to already think ahead, focus on those kind

of things.

I’ve been really focused on this

last month, you know, two months, to try and be

ready for the Australian summer.  And now I kind

of just need a break from that whole, like, goals

and preparing and all that.

But, no, obviously the French is

a Grand Slam where, you know, I would like to

do well, as well.  All of them, of course.  But,

uhm, again, yeah, I’m just excited that I won this

one.  Like I said, not really thinking in those kind

of ways yet.

That will probably happen after

Fed Cup when I’m done and home for a few

weeks.  I’m playing Paris.  Once after that, I’ll

probably have time to sit together with the team

and kind of just relook at the whole kind of

schedule for later this year.

Q.  What does it mean to finally win a

Grand Slam outside New York?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Uhm, it’s nice.

Obviously, I mean, you know, if I could win

another US Open it would also be nice.

But, no, I do enjoy this win,

especially here in Australia, as well.  It’s been a

country where I’ve always loved coming to and

where I’ve always been very well-received.

Yeah, I’ve been close to doing

well, you know, a few years in a row, so it’s nice

to finally get it this year.

Q.  You had a great speech after the

win.  It was funny and well-said.  I’d like to

know if you had to think much before when

KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, it just

comes out.

Q.  The Aussie Kim was just like that?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  Yeah, yeah.

Actually, I forgot to thank my doctor.  I feel really

bad about that.  ‘Cause, yeah, I mean, he’s

helped me out a lot.  I’ve had a lot of problem

with my feet and blisters, so I kind of regret that.

So I was like, I wish I could do it over and just

add him.

But, no, everything, there’s

nothing prepared at all.  I just, yeah.

Q.  Will you be wearing green for the

rest of the year in the Grand Slams?

KIM CLIJSTERS:  No, no.

There’s some more, some new and different

outfits coming, but that will bring a lot of people’s

memories back to some ex-Fila players.

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