Sunday, September 13, 2009

Motherhood Father Loss

Kim Clijsters of Belgium reacts after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in their women's singles final match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2009.
Reuters

Wild card. Brutal Draw. Champion. This is what I wrote at the end of March:

Full disclosure: I was never a fan. But when I read the reports that her father died of cancer, the first thing I thought was, She's definitely going to come back now.

The loss of a father can be one of the most transforming experiences of a person's life, no matter how old they are. But for someone as young as Kim, who just had a child of her own, I can imagine that the only thing she can do with her grief is get out on the court and train and grind, but above all else, compete. Afterall, her father brought her to the sport.

She always struck me as a politician. Something about the way she presented Miss Congeniality to the media and the fans, but behind the scenes, she seemed ruthless about getting her way. Like a good politician, she leaked her announcement to the press and followed it up days later with a huge press conference.

As we bemoan the current boredom of the women's tour, this announcement couldn't come at a better time. Beloved around the world and with a game that will give all these young ball-bashing baseliners fits (for those who think Victoria Azarenka is the next champion, think again...), her mere presence will inject the tour with some much-needed life.

Who knows, maybe motherhood and father loss will cure her biggest liability -- her mental frailty -- and she will go on to win another Slam or two.

Surely she can see her opportunities. Now she intends to seize them.


Oh, how she seized them. The only player to beat Venus and Serena in the same event twice. That will remain the gold standard. The first mother to win a major in 29 years. The first wild card to win the US Open period. The first unranked player to win a Slam ever. Her first Slam back.

Kim Clijsters, of Belgium, kisses her husband, Brian Lynch in the stands after defeating Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, during the women's championship match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009.
AP

When she went into the stands to kiss her husband, I was moved. He quit his job to support and accompany her on this journey.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium and her daughter Jada pose with the trophy after she defeated Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the women's singles final match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2009.
Reuters

The whole family celebrated. "See Grandpa up there smiling down?"

Kim Clijsters of Belgium displays her trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the women's singles final match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 13, 2009.
Reuters

I don't need to be a fan. But a remarkable story is a remarkable story.

8 comments:

Karen said...

I am not a fan, but this is a well deserved victory. Kim was so much better than one-slam wonder. I am joining those who have said that her return is good for the Tour, but I think it is even more so good for her. And yes Craig the loss of a father is a life changing experience. I am back home now and so will consider whether I need to read through all the various blogs or do I just stay away. I think I will stay away. Congratulations Kim. Well deserved. Well earned. Well played.

Karen said...

Hey did you guys see who won the US Open Girls Title. A black girl from the UK. Not Laura Robson, the Great White British Hope. Heather Watson, the Great Black British Hope. There is a picture of her over at FortyDeuce with her mother. LMAO

BayouPeach said...

Karen said...

Hey did you guys see who won the US Open Girls Title. A black girl from the UK. Not Laura Robson, the Great White British Hope. Heather Watson, the Great Black British Hope. There is a picture of her over at FortyDeuce with her mother. LMAO
=--------------------

I saw that! Congrats to Heather!!

pompelmo said...

So... Who is the real number one? Dinara or Serena?

Dapxin said...

pompelmo,

There is/was a time/place for
everything under the sun....quit that!.

The last liner there craig,
was all I wanted to say.

Kim's story, is beautiful
in its own way. Thanks for putting it out the way it is.

Michael said...

That's why we read this blog. Craig can tell a story better than most anyone I know, even about someone of whom he's not a fan.

Thank you, Craig. And THANK YOU KIM! What a story and accomplishment.

Karen, perhaps staying tuning in to tennis and wading through the entire blogosphere are two different things. I'd encourage you to skip most of the blogs, but stay in tune with tennis if you can. I am sorry for the loss of your sister and hope you find peace and meaning in the wake of her absence in your life.

Moose said...

Leave it to Mr. Craig Hickman to toast the winner with some gorgeous words and photos. As one of Kim's most ardent fans (going back to sitting in the stands in 1999 for that glorious Serena/Kim USO 3rd rounder when they were both teenagers with huge promise), I can't describe the sheer glee I am getting over this title.

This was a three generation win. It was for her father. It was for her daughter. And it was for her personally.

I'm allready excited about 2010.

Beth said...

I'm happy for Kim. A well deserved win and wonderful that her daughter and husband were there for all of it. I hope the 2010 season is successful for her.