Game, set, match, career for fulfilled Clijsters

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When the moment came to say goodbye, Kim Clijsters wasn’t quite ready to leave tennis behind for retirement. But the 29-year-old Belgian managed to say farewell to singles on Wednesday after a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) loss to British teen Laura Robson in the US Open second round at the same Arthur Ashe Stadium where she won three titles. “The first hour after the match there was still disappointment and a little bit of frustration,” Clijsters admitted. “Still had that routine of going through the match and trying to figure out how to do it better next time. “After talking and thinking about the retirement in singles, I’m happy. In the last two years, it has been up and down. I’m happy that I stuck through it and I was able to live a lot of these emotions I’ve had. “Proud of myself that I was able to do that.” Former World No. 1 Clijsters retired for the first time in 2007 to give birth to daughter Jada with no plans to return, feeling she had accomplished her Grand Slam dream with a 2005 US Open title. But she returned in 2009 and with only two tuneup events captured the US Open title, then defended the crown in 2010 and added a 2011 Australian Open title just for good measure. “It has been an incredible journey and a lot of dreams for me have come true because of tennis,” Clijsters said. “For me to have been able to have been a part of women’s tennis, and on top of women’s tennis for so many years, it has been a crazy rollercoaster.” Finally looking in the rear-view mirror at her career, Clijsters’ thoughts drifted to where it all began.