Kim Clijsters explains why Roger Federer is not like the others

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Kim Clijsters weighs in on Roger Federer’s farewell to tennis.

Kim Clijsters, with Eurosport, weighs in on Roger Federer’s farewell to tennis. Who to her is not like the others.

“I have mixed emotions,” she says. “The news of Federer’s retirement was sad, but the way he chose to do it was beautiful. Like a movie, I thought back to the day I met Roger for the first time: as kids, I was 14, he was 16, and it was already wonderful to watch him play. Then to when I met and hung out with his wife Mirka, from the circuit to mother of the family, training often with her, watching them grow up together, and as a woman, former tennis player, mother and wife, there is an expression that goes, “You carry the ship.” I think back to all those matches of his as a spectator, because they all wanted to see Roger. Because his evolution was really incredible, and today he retires as an icon.”

“I remember when Pete Sampras played his last Wimbledon,” adds the Belgian. “I was sitting there while everyone was saying, ‘No one here will be able to do better than Pete, no one will be able to even come close to this level of play’ … Instead it was already Federer who beat him at Wimbledon and today, 20 years later, he has become a legend: this extraordinary tennis player, so elegant on and off the court, very polite and funny. It is sad to see him retire, but at the same time one feels so fortunate to have been able to see him play, to witness his finals against Nadal, among the greatest moments in the history of tennis.”

“Tennis players like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras or Steffi Graf were unmatched. On Tour you hardly ever saw them: they would come in and out of the courts, practice, play their matches and then go back to the hotel. With Roger, on the other hand, there was a kind of familiarity because he liked to be around other players “on a human scale,” having a chat, laughing and joking. Not only me, I think many players had this bond. “He grew up learning about our lifestyle, which is very far from a ‘normal life’ concept, and yet he was always very ‘connected’ and natural,” Clijsters closed.

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