"You don't have to hate your opponent to beat them."
No wonder Kim Clijsters has been the most popular player on WTA and every player can vouch for that.
With her defeat today at US Open, it marks an end to an illustrious career which included 4 GS titles for this nice and humble Belgian.
She was an incredible player no doubt before her retirement as well in 2007. But for me, the highlight remained her awe inspiring win at US Open 2009 and US Open 2010. It was not just another Grand Slam wins but it also was an embodiment of the spirit with which it was played by her.
Most of the critics had run her down as the favorite in the presence of Serena Williams and other notable opponents. In our society, a female when she becomes a mother, she is normally considered to be out of the league as she can lose focus, may not have the same energy and stamina to do anything physical. Consider it a dogma in our society but women who have a baby may not be considered the favorite for any top achievements in life.
What Clijsters achieved in the wake of her return from motherhood in the world of tennis and winning 3 major Grand Slams was a reminder to everyone that people should be judged by their ability and hard work. Her win was inspiring to every mother out there to move on and live their dreams. Her win created a belief in the minds of people to pursue their dream career even when they return back from absence (maternity or paternity leave)
Kim Clijsters inspired every girl to follow their dreams and at the same time also enjoy time with their family. In this male dominated society, she was one of the examples where husband played a crucial role in balancing the life to enable her to become the US Open champion in 2009, 2010 and Australian Open champion in 2011.
Even today on her retirement, Kim Clijsters will always be a role model to women out there for her determination, hard work and above all her humility in the wake of the tough competition and jealousy prevalent in today's world. She taught us to be classy in the presence of obstacles, to make friendships even with your rivals, to be strong in adversity, to be a champion and still be a great mother, to be inspiring in times of personal tragedy and to be humble in defeat.
I wish her luck for her next phase of life and even though she retired today, she will always have a special place in our hearts. "Kim - You are a true champion and a role model to everyone of us out there."
In the end, I will end with her thoughts:
"One of my biggest dreams came true in 2005 by winning here and every time I came back I was always inspired by the energy and played some of my best matches here. I feel like it was perfect place to retire and I just wasn't wish it was today...I do look forward to having the next part of my life coming up."