Let me set the record straight about something.
Contrary to the impression I might give with the virulent way in which I sometimes actively root against her, I don’t actually hate Kim Clijsters.
In fact, I don’t have anything against her at all.
The reasons I do it, in increasing order of precedence, are:
a) I think she had her share of success and Grand Slam glory last year.
b) I think she had MORE than her fair share of media adulation that goes along with that glory and, of course, for being “MamaKim”.
c) I’ve never been able to warm to her in the way I have to the supremely talented, amateurish tomboy that is Sveta or the crude, dorky, deliciously devastating jellybean that is the Sod.
That last one is of prime importance.
I like my players to be both glaringly defective and, if possible, insanely talented.
When they come through it makes the victory that much sweeter as they’ve overcome a whole host of factors and circumstances not least of which is their own soul.
The common denominator appears to be that most of them have little or no control (or, it seems, interest) over how they choose to present themselves. And perhaps as a result, give more of their natural unrehearsed selves over to you both in triumph and in disaster.
Think Marat, think Ivan Llendl – think any current female Italian player.
All of which brings me back to Kim. I don’t hold it against her that she doesn’t rile or rage the way some players do. We hardly need be reminded that there’s an ugly side to that too.
I’m not even suggesting that her happy, sunny disposition is carefully “manufactured” for media consumption.
For all we know, the very measured competence she projects is her modus operandi. It probably was even back in her first career when she was, so often, overcome by the frailty that, to a far lesser degree, still returns to haunt her.
All the same it was easier to root for her back then – it’s the law of the underdog, I’m afraid.
I much preferred the natural grit and intimidatory mechanics of Mary Pierce’s groundies but was right behind Kimmie when she took her first Slam here 5 years back. There seemed to be something vaguely moral about it.
The point is, she’s always been far too measured for me to warm up to. Or to even develop an opinion on.
On court that sort of singular focus is perhaps her greatest asset. Of court, I’m afraid I don’t much care for it.
None of this is her fault - she’s just not built the way those others are.
All of which is an incredibly long-winded way of saying that it’s for precisely those reasons that I loved the following pictures of her.
Anyone that saw the match (I’m now sorry I didn’t), knows what a train wreck it was.
Stosur and Kimmie exchanged nine breaks in ten service games – a total of 16 breaks in all.
Clijsters would make 8 DFs and 43 UFEs before serving it out with an ace, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Kim’s not pretending she didn’t know this:
"After the match, I was like, 'How did I win this?' I didn't feel like I was playing well; Sam is a good player," Clijsters said, "so I was just kind of talking to my coach and fitness coach and just [saying], 'Wow. What just happened? How did I win?"
Look at how supremely confident she is in her own fug. How comfortable she is in the skin of her mediocrity.
She’s practically rubbing it in our face.
Did I rock the shithouse or what?
Aye, you did sister.
And I love you for it.
Embrace the fug and I’ll love you more.