Kim Clijsters: From Tennis Player To Investor

Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters is a retired Belgian tennis player who has a net worth of $20 million. Clijsters is one of the most accomplished tennis players in history, having won four Grand Slam singles titles and two Grand Slam doubles titles during her career.

Kim Clijsters was born on 8 June 1983 in Bilzen, a small town in northeastern Belgium. She grew up with her younger sister Elke in the nearby town of Bree in the Flemish province of Limburg. Kim is the daughter of Lei Clijsters and Els Vandecaetsbeek, both of whom were accomplished athletes.

Her mother Els was a Belgian national artistic gymnastics champion. Her father Lei was a professional football defender who played for a variety of clubs in the top-flight Belgian First Division, including KV Mechelen with whom he won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1988. He was also a member of the Belgium national football team, tallying 40 caps and competing in two World Cups.

Clijsters credits her parents for giving her a footballer’s legs and a gymnast’s flexibility. She also attributes her success to the freedom they gave her when she was a young player, saying, “Without the support I’ve had from my family, I wouldn’t be where I am. They’ve let me make my own decisions.”

When Clijsters was five years old, her father built a clay tennis court at their home as a gift to his daughter to celebrate him winning the 1988 Gouden Schoen, an award given to the player of the year in the Belgian First Division. He had previously announced the idea of the gift as a celebration of the award during a television interview.

Clijsters began playing tennis earlier that year after attending a lesson with her cousins and her uncle while her parents were away. From then on, she became fixated on the sport. She began playing with her sister at the Tennis del club in Genk by the time she was seven. Her first coach Bart Van Kerckhoven recalled that she was extremely energetic and never wanted to leave the tennis court, adding that, “If the group before her did some sprints to finish off the session, Kim would join in. Then she put her heart and soul into her training session, after which she joined the next group for their warm-up exercises.”

At the age of nine, Clijsters began working with Benny Vanhoudt in the more distant town of Diest. Along with her sister, she trained for fifteen hours a week, including five hours of individual instruction, which Vanhoudt said was “an insane amount [of total hours].” She continued to train in Diest until she was twelve. During this time, she also first worked with Carl Maes and Wim Fissette, both of whom would coach Clijsters later in her professional career.

When she was thirteen, Maes took over as her primary coach at the Flemish Tennis Association in Antwerp.

Kim Clijsters turned professional in 1997 at the age of 14. She quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the top players in the world in the early 2000s.

Clijsters won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2005 and went on to win three more Grand Slam singles titles over the next five years. She famously retired from tennis in 2007 to start a family but returned to the sport in 2009 and won two more US Open titles in 2009 and 2010.

Clijsters retired for a second time in 2012.

Kim Clijsters has been married to American basketball player Brian Lynch since 2007. The couple has three children together.

Clijsters is also known for her philanthropic work, including her involvement with the Laureus World Sports Awards and her charity, the Kim Clijsters Academy, which aims to promote tennis among young people in Belgium.

Kim Clijsters is known for her impressive real estate portfolio, which includes several properties in Belgium and the United States. In 2019, she put her 7,000-square-foot mansion in Bree, Belgium on the market for $3.7 million.

Kim Clijsters is also part of an ownership group that has purchased an expansion team for the 2023 Major League Pickleball season.

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