First Olympics like school trip, says Clijsters
Kim Clijsters likened her first Olympic Games experience on Friday to being on a school outing as the former world number one prepared to play at Wimbledon for the last time before retirement.
The Belgian will quit after the US Open, but first the 29-year-old will tackle her debut Olympics at a venue where she never got beyond the semi-finals in Grand Slam play and was a fourth round loser this year.
“You feel like you are going on a school trip. We took the train, all dressed the same, all had our backpacks and all that stuff,” said the Belgian, who won the US Open in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and the 2011 Australian Open.
“It was fun and it is exciting to have been on the tour for 15 years and to have a new experience.”
Despite her 41 career titles, Clijsters is looking forward to making her Olympics debut when she tackles Italy’s Roberta Vinci in Saturday’s Court Two opener.
“I’m enjoying it - these first few days have definitely taken a bit of adjustment, looking around seeing everything at Wimbledon,” she said.
“It’s a great place to be playing at. I’m looking forward to feeling what the Olympic atmosphere is like. I’m not really thinking of my retirement yet until I come to that point because I want to do well and play good tennis.”
Clijsters, who missed the Beijing Olympics in 2008 while she was starting a family, believes she can be a contender for a medal, despite missing four months this year with a hip injury suffered in March.
“I know that if I play good tennis and I stay healthy that I am capable of beating all the good players out there,” she said.
“But it’s a matter of trying to raise your level on important moments and in the big matches, and not be surprised in the first few rounds. I will focus on my first round match and then I will just take it one match at a time.”