Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Kim and I (part 4)

At the ripe old age of 26, Kim Clijsters was invited to play to commemorate the completion of the roof in Wimbledon. Although she was totally rusty, I missed seeing Kim play. She was still hitting some wonderful balls and moving around like she never left. Imagine my elation when she announced her comeback in the American hard-court season. Finally, she gets another chance to redeem herself! 

Going into US Open, I had completely no expectations of Kim. She did after all lose to her pigeon Safina in her warm-up event. So I took each win as a bonus. But boy did she win. Once Kim started winning, she can’t stop. Round by round, she starting playing better and better. She faced Venus Williams in the 4th round and even bagelled her in the first set. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe she has another chance? Reality soon crept back in as Venus woke up and bagelled Kim back. Still, I hoped for a miracle. Then came the crucial break. Kim broke Venus and will be serving out the match. At 15-30, Kim played 2 of the most clutch tennis I’ve ever seen her play. The Kim of the past would have missed those shots but she didn’t. When Kim closed it out with an unreturnable serve, she had tears in her eyes. You knew how much that means to her. 

Then came the controversial semi-final match. Kim was going toe-to-toe against Serena, not intimidated by the younger sister’s serve and power. Serena was perhaps surprised at the amount of balls Kim got back and went for too much. You could see her frustrations boiling inside. Hitting yet another error, Serena lost the first set and her racket. 

I was totally shocked at this turn of event. Kim always had trouble with Serena even at her peak. Just fresh from her comeback, she had just taken a set of Serena Williams. Am I dreaming? Turns out I’m not. Kim continued imposing her game onto Serena and fought to the bitter end. Then, the notorious outburst happened. Like everybody else, I was shocked at what happened. And I was even more surprised when Serena started walking towards Kim to shake her hand. Did she quit? Was she defaulted? Disbelief soon turned to happiness as I realized that no matter what happened, Kim was now in the finals and a firm favourite for the title. Unranked and just in her 3rd event, Kim managed to reach a Grand Slam final! I must be dreaming. 

At that point of time, I had just graduated from university and the job market was quite bleak. I remember clearly that when the final was being played, I was going for my job interview. Instead of being more anxious about the interview, I was more eager to check livescores of the match. After the interview finished, Kim also won her match. I got the job eventually as well! Perhaps my life has been intertwined with Kim’s career.

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