Clijsters Now Needs To Win Other Majors

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – If she was a football team, she would be the 49ers of the 1980s and in basketball, she would be the Celtics of the 1960s.

If she was a baseball team, she would be the Yankees of the 1950s.

But Kim Clijsters is a tennis player, and a good one, especially on the hard courts in Flushing Meadows, the surface she loves the most. And after tonight, she became a dynasty with her third US Open with a dismantling of Vera Zvonareva, 6-2 6-1, in the shortest Women’s Final since they started keeping time back in 1980 and the most lopsided final since 1976, when Chris Everett took out Evonne Goolagong, 6-3 6-0 in Forest Hills.

The match was so lopsided that the capacity crowd was trying to egg on Zvonareva just to get their money’s worth.

But the world’s favorite working mom would have none of that as she wanted to get revenge of her Quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon by Zvonareva keeping her shutout of the other three majors.

“I knew getting into the match which things were that I didn’t do well in the matches I lost,” Clijsters said. “Obviously the one at Wimbledon was, to me one of the most disappointing losses that I’ve dealt with so far in my career.”

The reason why Clijsters was so disappointed back in July was that Wimbledon was her chance to make everyone believe she was more than just a hard court specialist. Winning the US Open every year is nice and the $2.2 million payday she received will pay for young Jada’s college tuition, but to be considered one of the greats, she needs to claim the crown elsewhere, be it in Melbourne, Paris, or London.

“I mean, they all motivate you in a different way, obviously,” she said.  “Tactic‑wise you always have to adjust a little bit to each and every single one of them.

“But I think the one where I’ve felt I can do better than I have is obviously at the Australian Open.  Similar surface.  They’ve gone away from I think the Rebound Ace in the last couple years.  So I’ve always enjoyed playing there.  That’s obviously a Grand Slam I want to do well.  I want to do well in all of them, of course.

“But, um, again, you have the two European Grand Slams, which, you know, obviously Wimbledon is the one where, you know, I’m close to because I have the connection with my dad there because he enjoyed it there.  I always want to do well there, as well.

“The French Open, yeah, feels like playing in Belgium because we have so many Belgian people supporting us.  We have the history of a lot of past Belgians who have won there.  They all have a different impact on the way you feel and a positive impact, and I think that’s something I want to use when I go back there next year.”

It’s funny, though, Clijsters also has a connection with each of the Grand Slams. Australia adopted her calling the Belgian “Aussie Kim” because of her engagement to Lleyton Hewitt. Wimbledon and Roland Garros love her because she is a Belgian and almost an adoptive daughter.

And she is loved here in New York, because she is a part time New Jersey resident, as her husband Brian Lynch hails from the Garden State.

Yet, she’s only found championships by the Unisphere, because the hard courts excel her skills raising her record to 21-0 in her last three Opens.

“The surface has always been one of my favorite surfaces to play on,” Clijsters said. “I also like the blue courts, which, you know, make it a lot easier for me to see on.

“But I’ve always ‑‑ not just here in New York, but I’ve always had a very good run on the American hard courts, even when I was younger, you know, the whole US Open Series, Stanford, San Diego, LA, those kind of tournaments.

“I’ve always had a pretty good record going there.  I have a natural instinct of just adapting really well to, you know, the hard courts, which doesn’t come that easily for me when I go on different surfaces.”

Now, though, the 27 year-old needs to raise her game if she wants to be considered one of the greats. In the next year, Clijsters needs to she can win one of the other three Grand Slams. She said she wants to play through the Olympics in 2012, but after that it’s up in the air. Jada will be going to school and her priorities will change.

The clock is ticking and as with all dynasties they will come to an end someday.

Capra Exits The Stage Gracefully

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – And now Cinderella has turned into a pumpkin.

The hopeful and engaging run of Beatrice Capra ended today after the 18 year-old was shutout by Maria Sharapova , 6-0 6-0. Yet, this probably isn’t the last we have heard from the young Maryland native, as she learned so much from this past week.

“It’s been a really great experience,” she said.   “I mean, it’s nothing but positives for me.  I mean, I beat a top 20 player in the world.  I had a really good first round.

“I mean, playing against Maria in Arthur Ashe, yeah, I’d like to do better, but, you know, that was amazing.”

You really have to hope Capra becomes a mainstay on the open. Even at a young age, she shows a tremendous poise beyond her years and somewhat of a sarcastic sense of humor, not taking herself too seriously.

But decisions have to be made in the Capra household. This young lady deferred her attendance to Duke for one year and may go the college route, instead of devoting herself to the pros.

“I’d like to improve my professional ranking a little bit,” she said.  “And so by the time I go into college, you know, they said that they’re going to allow me to play some pro tournaments while I’m at college.

“Even if I just go to a semester of college and leave, I’m always able to go back.  So I think that’s definitely a plus.”

Of course Capra has a strong support system in her family who were all on hand today. “My entire family is behind me,” she said. “I have a lot of ‑‑ my two best friends actually, it’s their first year from college ‑‑ or to college, and they flew over to come watch me play today, which was really nice.

“You know, they all helped me get through everything, you know, the rough times and the good times.  I definitely think having, you know, my whole family together really helps me stay grounded.”

And then there’s Chris Everett, who is always there, as Capra is a member of her academy.

“Well, before the match she said to enjoy the moment, but that was kind of tough today,” Capra said drawing laughter from the media. “Um, you know, just control my emotions, don’t ever give up.  I know she was really good with that.  And, you know, move my feet when I get nervous.  And she always has the right things to say for me when I’m feeling nervous.  She’s always helped out a lot.”

Unfortunately all of that help and support didn’t do anything for the young player today, as the high winds combined with Sharapova took over.

“Yeah, that was the worst [wind],” she said. “It was really tough for me, not only because it was swirling when you’re playing, but also, like, just focusing with that, like all the lets that we had and you know.  Yeah, it was really rough today.”

It’s a Wonderful Life for Beatrice Capra

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Now that Melanie Oudin is out of the US Open, we reporter types always need a new Cinderella story to report.

Enter Beatrice Capra.

If you haven’t heard of her, don’t sweat it as she’s ranked 317 in the world. But with her first Top 20 win against the 18th seed Aravane Rezai, 7-5 2-6 6-3, has put the 18 year-old right in Oudin territory.

And that suits the Maryland native just alright.

“I really look up to Melanie,” said Capra, who is playing in her first US Open.  “I watched all of her matches last year, and I was just so happy for her.  You know, it was really inspiring to me because I played her a year before, and then she was getting to the quarters of a Grand Slam.  It was just unbelievable, and I was so happy for her.

“You know, I think she’s pushed all of the Americans to do better.  I mean, for sure I talk to Melanie a lot, and I will for sure ask anything about Maria Sharapova.”

Although she may be seeking Sharapova’s advice, that may have to wait, because Capra may play the 14th seed Russian pending the results against Iveta Benesova laster tonight.

And that’s alright because right now, Capra is the talk on the Open. She was born to an Italian family and her father emigrated to America. “He’s from Monza,” Capra said, “and he came over to start his business, which it’s called the Tenax Corporation.  It’s an Italian company, so he started it in America.  While he was there in Maryland, my mom taught tennis lessons.  He wanted to take tennis lessons, so they met up and here I am.”

Her last answer got a round of laughs from the press conference and much like Oudin this young lady is very engaging as she moves up the ranks.

She trains at Chris Everett’s Tennis Academy and earned a wildcard into this tournament. As such, she has a tremendous confidence in the last 12 months.

“A year ago today I was actually playing the juniors here,”   I’ve been playing mostly juniors tournaments the entire year and concentrating on that.  I’ve played a couple of pro circuit events and done okay, but it’s been mostly juniors.”

“I played a couple of WTA events this year, and lost first round in the quallies in all of them.  So, I mean, this is definitely the best I’ve done so far.”

She played a very strong defensive game today, but feels she needs to be more aggressive if she’s going to move forward.

Of course all of this may end on Saturday when she faces Sharapova or Benesova, but right now she’s enjoying it.

“Well, yeah.  I mean, I always wanted to play in one of the Grand Slams,” she said.  “You know, I would be watching the Tennis Channel leading up.  It’s just like, you know, I always wanted that.

“Whenever I want something, you know, I do my best to get it.  You know, every day I would be like, I want this, I want this, and I just can’t, you know, believe that it’s happening.”

Turely, this Capra is living a Wonderful Life.