Rus d. Clijsters 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
1) We KNOW Kim is prone (more than most) to occasional bouts of catastrophically abhorrent play. The stench can be positively sulphuric. This isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last.
2) She hasn’t played in two months. Competitive match play is kind of a big deal. Even for multi-Slammin’ Super Moms.
3) Arantxa Rus came to PLAY. And, as I hope we saw, she happens to play rather well.
4) Clay hasn’t ever been Kim’s surface of choice. Winning all the hard court Slams in the world won’t change that. She was only ever a “contender” in so far as her undoubted elite status as a player, and the aura that inspires, carried her through enough wins in one of the most open FO draw of recent history.
5) It was windy out there today. Wind tends to be unforgiving at the best of times. Kim was both far from her best and (worse) didn’t seem bothered (or yielding) enough to reign it in.
Perhaps the real shocker was how many respected commentators were falling over each other in their attempts to explain the loss away as a consequence of Kim’s (supposedly still injured) ankle.
Really? Did she confirm the ankle was a problem at the start of the week? Was it a problem in any of her previous matches? Would it have been a problem if she’d breezed through Rus the way everyone expected to?
[Sorry, but petulant lines of enquiry are a two-way street]
I have no reason to be sceptical of the story of how she rolled her ankle (apparently dancing barefoot at her cousin’s wedding). If that’s what she says, let’s take it at face value without figuratively rolling our eyes, or engaging in other unnecessary innuendo.
But if she turns up to play, apparently healthy, then that’s exactly and precisely what I’ll assume her to be. There’s really no occasion to be speaking of supposed “injuries” whilst a match is still in progress – not unless and until the player concerned has taken an MTO.
Why, in any case, is it so very difficult to wait for her to bring it up herself, either in the post-match presser or any other subsequent interview?
Which, as it happens, is exactly what she did: she admitted to frustration in not being able to execute, she expressed a desire to return to the practice court – no mention was made of any injury (to the ankle or otherwise), not until she was explicitly prompted to do so, when she denied it was an issue.
In other words, she admitted that (for whatever reason) she wasn’t good enough on the day. Again, I take her word for it.