Kim Clijsters bids farewell to professional tennis

Updated: 2007-05-07 09:13

BRUSSELS, - Belgian tennis player Kim Clijsters decided to retire from professional tennis straightaway, the former world number one announced on her website on May 7.

The news comes as rather a shock, as Clijsters had planned to continue until the end of the season.

"I could have continued some months more, playing the three remaining grand slams and the Masters this season, but it's not my intention to make some easy money. Money is not the most important thing in my life," she wrote on her website.

Clijsters hopes to find happiness with fiancee Brian Lynch, a U.S. basketball player.

"It's time to start a new life now. No more long-distance flights and time away from family and friends," she said.

The 23-year-old tennis diva is getting married to Brian Lynch on 14 July, and she has always expressed her wish to have children.

"Time to get married. Children? Time for cooking and playing with my dogs," she said.

"You might say that it's early to stop at only 23 years of age, but I've had my highlights," Kim explains on her website.

The daughter of a former international football player and a gymnast, Kim Clijsters started her career in 1997 in the ITF circuit, the waiting room for the WTA circuit. She first made the headlines two years later, defeating Dominique Van Roost to take her first career trophy in Luxembourg.

Clijsters went on to win 34 singles titles, including one grand slam crown at the US Open in 2005.

She also won the Masters, the unofficial world championships, on two occasions in 2002 and 2003.

In 2003, she became the first ever Belgian tennis player to occupy the world's number one spot. She was on the throne for 19 weeks.

Currently, Clijsters still occupies number four place at WTA listing.

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