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Kim Clijsters is a professional tennis player who has won multiple Grand Slam titles, including some at the U.S. Open. She married American basketball player Brian Lynch.
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Belgian tennis player Kim Clijsters made her professional debut in 1999, at the Women's Tennis Association tour in Belgium. In 2002, she won the Masters. A year later, she earned the world No. 1 ranking, making her the first player to reach the rank without winning a Grand Slam singles title—an honor she would later earn in 2005. She retired in 2007, but made a comeback in August of 2009, when she played Serena Williams. By 2012,
Clijsters had become a four-time Grand Slam winner.
Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters was born on June 8, 1983 in Bilzen, Limburg, Belgium. Clijsters was born into an athletic family; her father, Lei, was an international soccer player, and mother Els was a Belgian gymnastics champion. Clijsters began playing tennis at an early age and, by the time she was 6, began competing in the sport.
By 1992, Clijsters had become an accomplished amateur player. Impressed with the young Belgian's athletic abilities, tennis coach Bart Van Kerckhoven decided to coach Clijsters. With Van Kerckhoven's help, the 11-year-old Clijsters won the Belgian Junior Championship in 1994.
At the age of 13, Clijsters decided to hone her game further by attending the Wilrijk tennis school. During her time at Wilrijk, Clijsters left the tutelage of Van Kerckhoven and began training with coach Carl Maes. In 1998, at the age of 15, Clijsters wowed fans with her junior grandslam sucess, becoming the youngest National A champion in history. That same year, she also placed 11th in the Wimbledon junior event, and won the French and U.S. Open doubles titles with partners Jelena Dokic and Eva Dyrberg. Her successes land her at No. 4 in the International Tennis Federation junior doubles world ranking.
Clijsters made her professional debut in 1999 at the Women's Tennis Association tour in Antwerp, Belgium. Although she suffers a loss to first seed Sarah Pitkowski, Clijsters makes it to the quarterfinals. That same year, she made it through the main draw at Wimbledon, but lost to Steffi Graf in the fourth round. She also reached the third round of the U.S. Open, losing to Serena Williams.
Clijsters proved to be resilient, however, and rebounded in 2002 by winning the Masters in 2002. In 2003, she won nine singles tournaments and seven doubles titles. Her successes that year earned her the world No. 1 ranking, and she became the first player to reach the rank without winning a Grand Slam singles title—an honor she would finally earn at the 2005 U.S. Open.
Clijsters's career was still on the rise until 2007, when she presented fans with startling news: she was retiring from tennis to become a wife and mother. Her time away from the court presented several highs and lows. In July of 2007, she secretly married American basketball player Brian Lynch. The next year, in February 2008, Clijsters gave birth to a daughter, Jada Ellie. A year later, in January 2009, Clijsters suffered a personal loss when her father, Lei, died of lung cancer.
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Throughout the history of tennis, there have been champs who have captivated fans with their achievements. From the history-making record of Arthur Ashe, the first African-American to win at Wimbledon, to the Olympic medal-winning athleticism of players like Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal to the colorful on and off-court personalities of players like Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, these tennis players have made history acing their sport.
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