Kiki Bertens on Idol Kim Clijsters: It would be great if I could play her one day


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Kiki Bertens on Idol Kim Clijsters: It would be great if I could play her one day

Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, seeded No. 9 at this year's Australian Open, says she was surprised by her idol Kim Clijsters' decision to comeback to professional tennis and is hoping to play her when the Belgian comes back.

In a column for BBC, Bertens says, "Even though I never really liked watching tennis too much when I was growing up, it is fair to say Kim Clijsters was my idol. Kim was a great player, a great person and a great champion.

Plus she is from Belgium, really close to where I am from, so it is pretty obvious why I liked her. That meant I was really happy to see her announce a comeback at the age of 36 after more than seven years away from the WTA Tour.

It came as a complete surprise to me. I never saw it coming. But now I'm thinking it would be great if I could play her one day. I don't know how I would feel if that was to happen, but of course I would want to beat her!

That's the case with every player. Her game was very good to watch; she was really aggressive and her movement was good. We will have to see how successful her comeback is going to be. Maybe it won't be that easy. But she was a great athlete in her prime and you can't rule anything out.

So let's see what happens." Speaking about her husband Remko De Rijke, who is also part of her team, Bertens says she is glad that he travels with her only half the year and also has his own academy in order to balance their work and private life.

"I got married in the summer to my husband Remko, who is part of my team. He is a physio and a fitness trainer, but a coach as well, and my coach Elise is also a fitness trainer and physio. So they can do both - and if I'm not happy with one, then I can switch to the other!

It is great he is part of our team because otherwise we'd have no time to see each other. Remko has his own tennis academy in Belgium so he travels with us for half of the year. I think it is good that he travels with us only half of the time, and not full time, because I think that would make it a little bit tougher.

We manage to balance our work and private life very well; we have found a good way to do that. Most of the time when we are on site at a tournament it is work, and that really starts when he is doing my warm-up before practice.

At the end of the day, when we have finished stretching and the rest of my recovery routine, he becomes my husband again and the work stops. Then we can do normal stuff as husband and wife, go for a nice dinner, watch a movie or just relax.

When we are having dinner in a restaurant, we try not to talk about tennis - but sometimes it is hard." Bertens is through to the second round of the ongoing Australian Open in Melbourne and will play Arina Rodionova, of Australia, in the second round.