At @WorldTeamTennis Friday, Clutch @ClijstersKim Cruises in @NYEmpireTennis Win
Steve Fogleman in White Sulphur Springs, WV
Kim Clijsters has always been a heavy lifter in the world of professional tennis, having been the first unseeded woman to win a U.S. Open singles title. Today in World Team Tennis action at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Clijsters showed her mettle.
Before she heated up on court for the New York Empires, Clijsters served as a ball person during the opening set of men’s doubles. While she trained her eyes on the play in front of her, she couldn’t help but constantly turn around to keep an eye on her three kids in attendance—Jada, Jack and Blake. She even threw a water bottle from the Empire’s stash toward one of her thirsty boys during a timeout.
Clijsters gave those children a show to remember, and she started by winning the women’s doubles event with Kveta Peschke, 5-2. Moments later, she was paired with Jack Sock, as they took the mixed doubles 5-4. That would have been a successful day for any WTT player.
In a surprise move, New York Empire Coach Luke Jensen substituted the Belgian after fellow teammate Sabine Lisicki faced a 3-1 deficit to Monica Puig of the Vegas Rollers. Clijsters needed a moment to get her singles game on track, and ultimately defeated Puig by a 5-4 score, effectively knocking the Rollers out of the match.
After the match at courtside, Clijsters told me that “you just try to be ready when you get put out there. I was a little surprised by (the move) and I was like ‘ok’, Sabine wasn’t playing her best tennis but she still had some good tennis in her,” she said. “In that first game, I had to wake myself up a little bit again.
I remarked that she looked like she was doing double duty during the opening singles match, between serving up balls to Sock and H20 to her son.
“This is my life, so I’m used to it. To a lot of people or players, it’s unusual but it’s very normal and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s just a matter of time to balance it out,” Clijsters replied.
Clijsters was deemed Player of the Match. With the win, the Empire improves their record to 5-4, good for third place in the WTT standings.