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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well we have a Lleyki picture thread so I figured we might as well have a Lleyki article thread! Now unlike the pictures, I don't have millions of Lleyki articles so please feel free to add :D I'll start off with those that I can find :kiss: And don't be afraid to post interviews either :bounce:

Senior Member
27,371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Kim keeps Lleyton waiting


LLEYTON HEWITT will have to go the full five sets before Kim Clijsters agrees to be his wife after the Belgian revealed yesterday she had no intentions of getting married soon.

The world No. 1's long-time girlfriend has told Belgium's Sport Magazine that, unlike her compatriot Justine Henin who gets married this month, she has no intentions just yet of wedding Hewitt.
"I'll get married when I'm able to spend my free time with my husband, which is far from being the case right now," Clijsters said.

"My life is too chaotic."

Clijsters' life is also pretty good right now. She has three singles titles to her credit in 2002 and reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 in March.

She has had a few injury concerns but believes the right shoulder that has troubled her for most of this year has now cleared up.

"I no longer have to pull back from putting everything into a training session or a match. I don't have any worries for the 2003 season," she said.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We may have found compelling evidence that Lleyton Hewitt loves himself. No, not the ponytail, the confident demeanor or the self-motivational yelps during matches.

The evidence was provided when his girlfriend, Kim Clijsters, sat with the Hewitt family in the stands on Tuesday night.

Clijsters was seated directly in front of Lleyton's mother, Cherilyn, and sister Jaslyn. If you didn't know who she was - and one Seven commentator did not - you would have guessed she was another Hewitt sister.

She has fair hair, blue eyes and a dimpled chin. Frankly, she looks like Lleyton. People are supposed to be attracted to opposites, or maybe to someone like mum or dad. But if they choose to partner someone who resembles themselves, self-love could be the motivation. Or something else. Explanations are better left to Dr Freud's disciples.

"That's what I've heard," said Clijsters of her uncanny resemblance to her other half. "A lot of people, yeah, say that we could be brother and sister."

Clijsters, 17, and Hewitt, 19, share other traits, admittedly superficial ones. Most obviously, they are damn good players - Clijsters is Belgium's highest-ranked female (18).

Their dads were both professional footballers: Glynn Hewitt played for Glenelg in South Australia and a handful of games for Richmond, while Lei Clijsters was one of Belgium's most famous soccer stars, a World Cup player. (He coaches a third-division club, Diest).

Clijsters, like Hewitt, likes to slug it out from the baseline and doesn't have a huge serve. She, too, relies on nimble feet and has a mean two-handed backhand.

Like her boyfriend, she can win on bad days and doesn't fold in the face of adversity.

Yesterday, after a late evening watching Hewitt's hamstrung heroics, she played well below par - her own estimation - against Russian Alina Jidkova but still won 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

The swirling wind on court two made for ugly tennis. Clijsters had a poor start and, at 0-1 and 30-40, committed an error that is unheard of in grand slam tennis.

On her second serve, she swiped and missed the ball, connecting only with Melbourne air. Double-fault. Game Jidkova. 2-0.

"That's the first time that's ever happened," said Clijsters of her fresh-air shot. "While I was bringing my racket up, the wind just blew the ball away."

In the stands, Hewitt, his coach Darren Cahill and a small entourage provided moral support. Unlike Hewitt, Clijsters did not question any calls, pump the fist or do anything that could be construed as annoying. She quietly took over the match, overcoming the wind and a horrible unforced error count (56 to her opponent's 36).

The media, keen on any sneaky question that introduced the topic of Hewitt, later asked if all the excitement of the previous evening had left her flattened. It hadn't.

"That had nothing to do with that . . . we're both playing," she said. "I'm focusing on my matches. I'm not focusing on his matches. It's good that he wins and I'm happy for him. My main goal is to keep focused."

For the record, Hewitt and Clijsters are said to have met at the Australian Open last year, but the romance didn't bloom until the Ericsson Open in Miami last March. By the French Open, he had been to Belgium to meet the parents. In December, when Hewitt was struggling with a breathing ailment that has since been diagnosed as a sinus problem, he was still prepared to act as warm-up partner for Clijsters before one of her biggest matches, against Martina Hingis in the final at Hilderstadt (she lost).

Clijsters is Flemish-Belgian and thus fluent in three languages: Dutch, French and English. She handled the inevitable questions about Hewitt in the latter tongue fluently, with good grace and without a skerrick of hostility.

Hewitt has his matches, she has hers. Neither will be distracted. But so long as they keep winning, the questions about Lleyton and Kim will keep coming.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A little funny one from the bladder... and don't worry people, it's not true :p

Kim Clijsters' parents have banned Lleyton Hewitt from their Belgian residence after a recent brunch with the Aussie tennis ace turned into a "four hour nightmare."
Mr. and Mrs. Clijsters were reported to have been very happy with their daughter Kim's relationship with the Hewitt, until the morning he offered to "whip up a late brekky for everyone."

"He decided to start with some soft-boiled eggs," said Mr. Clijsters. "Which was fine by us. But two seconds after he'd dropped the eggs in the water, he put his face into the saucepan and started screaming, 'C'mon! C'mon!' I told him to ease up a bit, but he told me to get the hell out of the kitchen. It was an awful business. Every time one of the eggs bobbled to the surface of the boiling water, he'd give it an awful spray."

Mrs. Clijsters found the ordeal one of her worst ever breakfast experiences. "He should have just let the eggs alone," she said. "It would only have taken three minutes."

Hewitt lost patience and grabbed the eggs out of the water after only forty seconds.

"Watching him hold onto those scalding hot eggs, running round and round the kitchen, shouting, pumping his fists, going red in the face - I couldn't help wondering if this was the right boy for my Kimmy," said Mrs. Clijsters.

After berating the toaster for ineptness, Hewitt placed the eggs on the middle shelf of the Clijsters' oven. He set the temperature to the maximum of 400 C.

"That really frightened me," said Mrs. Clijsters. "To watch him with his head in an overheating oven, screaming 'C'mon!' at half a dozen eggs - it was worse than the night the fox got into the hen-house. I thought it would ever end."

Kim Clijsters defended her intense boyfriends antics, claiming her mum and dad just didn't understand him, and that Lleyton's behaviour was simply part of the way he cooked his eggs.

However, even Kim's loyalty was tested after Lleyton raced off with the eggs and holed himself up in the sitting room with a hairdryer, a bic lighter, and Mr. Clijsters old soldering iron. "C'mon! C'mon!" was all the Clijsters family heard for the next two hours.

The grueling egg ordeal was only ended when Kim's Swiss backpacker friend Martina dropped by to see how everyone was going.

"Everything was mad," said Mr. Clijsters. "But then Martina arrived. She was like a baboon. Wearing this hilarious outfit and primping and preening. All of a sudden people were laughing like drains, falling this way and that; it was a miracle. Even Lleyton began to smile. I'd like to call Lleyton 'Martina', but I'm afraid of what his reaction might be."

Australian cricketer Mark Waugh refused to comment on the issue, citing legal advice.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just a simple love story

by Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated

Nice as it is, Singapore's Changi International Airport is not a place you'd want to kill 12 hours waiting for your boyfriend. But last weekend Kim Clijsters, the No. 4 player on the WTA Tour, arrived on a flight from Belgium and then spent half a day aimlessly strolling the concourses, getting a massage and doing some heavy-duty duty-free shopping. Eventually her beau, Lleyton Hewitt, the top player on the ATP Tour, flew in from China. We can only hope that Hewitt had the good sense, knowing he was in arrears, to pay for dinner before they left together on a flight to Australia.

Tennis has had a rich history of intramural romances. Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors were briefly engaged in the 1970s, and Evert eventually married another pro, John Lloyd. Though Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf didn't date until after her retirement in 1999, they need a separate wing on their house to accommodate all their trophies. Jennifer Capriati and Xavier Malisse were inseparable for a year; the day they parted company, they resuscitated their careers.

Still, it's safe to say that few couples have had to endure the logistical hurdles of Hewitt, 21, and Clijsters, 19. He's based in Adelaide, Australia, the down under of Down Under, and she calls Bree, Belgium, home. Together, they log tens of thousand of air miles and rack up four-figure monthly phone bills to keep the flame burning. "It's not easy," said Clijsters, who spends three months a year with Hewitt in Australia. "When it's possible, we try to be together when one of us is playing and the other has a week off."

Whatever, it hasn't hurt their games. Earlier this month Clijsters upset top-ranked Serena Williams in the final to win the WTA Tour's year-end championship in Los Angeles. It marked the biggest title of her career. Five days later, Hewitt equaled her feat, winning the Masters Cup -- the men's season-ending lollapalooza -- in front of an SRO crowd in Shanghai. In so doing, he defended his year-end No. 1 ranking. The couple's combined haul from the two events: $2.1 million, a Porsche Carrera (hers) and a Mercedes CLK 320 (his). "I guess I get 50 percent of that," said Hewitt. "So it's all right."

By all outward appearances, this is a classic case of opposites attracting. Clijsters is cavity-inducing sweet and exceptionally popular on tour -- she makes a habit of making unpublicized visits to children's hospitals during tournaments -- if a bit naive at times. Asked in L.A. whether her muscular legs were a factor in her success, Clijsters was puzzled: "If I would have no legs, I wouldn't have won." Hewitt, on the other hand, has more than a little "mongrel in him," as the Aussies would say. A fierce fighter on the court, it sometimes seems like he is shouldering a chip the size of Ayers Rock. Before his first match in Shanghai, he spent hours on a speakerphone appealing a $100,000 fine he incurred from the ATP last summer for blowing off a mandatory television interview.

So, too, is their tennis a study in contrasts. At 5-foot-10, Clijsters is a charter member of the so-called Big Babe Brigade, a fluid athlete equipped with the arsenal to engage the Williams juggernaut. (In addition to her defeat of Serena, Clijsters beat Venus twice in 2002.) Hewitt is, ahem, listed at 5-10 and plays an unrelenting, counterpunching style. Aside from blinding quickness, his greatest asset is an outsized heart that stems from a lifetime of being the little guy eager to prove he belongs.

Clijsters and Hewitt met by serendipity. Sort of. In the winter of 2000, Hewitt invited Clijsters to a party for Pat Rafter, a player women don't like so much as they lap him up. Clijsters eagerly accepted, and only later realized Hewitt invited her as his date and not so she could meet Rafter. In nearly three years together, Hewitt and Clijsters have discovered the numerous benefits of dating someone in the same line of work. They practice together and critique the other's game. Watching Clijsters, Hewitt has come to appreciate the virtues of a calm demeanor. Sitting in Hewitt's box, Clijsters has learned what she calls, "the power of having strong self-confidence and believing in yourself." Perhaps above all, they are kindred spirits in a sport where self-absorption is all but an occupational requirement.

With Hewitt already on top and Clijsters just starting to enter her prime, the two have a chance to replicate Connors and Evert's feat of simultaneously being the No. 1 player on their respective tours. For the time being, they are taking a well-deserved vacation. After their airport rendezvous, they connected to a flight bound for Adelaide to drop off their bags. They then headed to an isolated oceanside resort in Queensland. According to Hewitt's reps, they are decompressing after an exhausting year and toasting their success at their respective year-end events. Singapore Slings, no doubt. And better make it a double.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This one's for my $1.37m heroine
By DARREN WALTON in Shanghai
FORGET the top ranking, Lleyton Hewitt is under pressure to win the Tennis Masters Cup this week for purely domestic reasons.

He is well aware he has to claim the title after his girlfriend banked the biggest pay cheque of her career.

While Hewitt says he isn't yet ready to marry Kim Clijsters, there's no doubt he and the Belgian star are already one big happy family.

Clijsters picked up $1.37 million for winning the women's season-ending tennis championship in Los Angeles on Monday.

"I guess I get 50 per cent of that, so that's all right," Hewitt said after opening his quest for the men's season-ending title in Shanghai with a hard-fought win over French Open champion Albert Costa.

The 21-year-old acknowledged it would be another nice pay day if he could pocket the winner's cheque for $1.25m if he snared a second straight Masters Cup.

But with $214,500 on offer for every pool win at the New Shanghai International Expo Centre plus another $661,500 for a semi-final victory, Hewitt's status as the breadwinner is not under threat by Clijsters' big collect.

Hewitt is at ease talking about his girlfriend of three years, and the two support one another courtside at tournaments around the world whenever the opportunity allows.

So where did Hewitt escape the limelight after winning Wimbledon to celebrate his greatest triumph?

Clijsters' Belgian base, of course.

But Hewitt said Clijsters wouldn't be in Shanghai this week as he bids to fend off the challenge from Andre Agassi to retain his year-end No. 1 ranking.

But he had been on the telephone to congratulate her, and his adoration for the 19-year-old was not hard to see when he said she was "over the moon" after claiming a rare winning double, defeating Venus and Serena Williams.

"It's obviously the biggest moment in her so far and to beat the Williams sisters back to back, it's not something that a lot of players can say they've done, especially this year, the way they've dominated the sport," he said.

"So it's an incredible achievement.

"And she doesn't have a lot of points to defend really, I don't think.

"(She reached) the semis of the Aussie (Open) but, apart from that, she's got a good chance to go even higher in the rankings, I believe."

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thursday, May 30, 2002

Love All at Wimbledon

Ronald Atkin

Everyone knows that Paris is for lovers. So, too, is Wimbledon, even if you are a player. At this year's Championships the spotlight will fall on the high-ranking romance between Lleyton Hewitt, world number one and reigning US Open champion, and Kim Clijsters, the 18-year-old from Belgium who has established herself in the top five of women's tennis.

Although in the past Wimbledon honours have occasionally gone to husband and wife teams, as well as brothers and sisters, in the doubles events, it is only in recent years that true singles romance, rather than family love, has hit the headlines.

The finest example, known as the Year of the Lovers, came in 1974 when Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert celebrated their engagement by winning the singles titles on Centre Court.

Connors, aged 21, and Evert, 19, were both playing the Championships for the third time. Having been a quarter-finalist in both 1972 and 1973, the third-seeded Connors defeated the veteran Ken Rosewall for the loss of only six games to win the title.

Evert, who had been Semi-Finalist on her debut in 1972 and finalist the following year, made the natural progression to Champion by defeating Russia's Olga Morozova as second seed to win the first of her three Wimbledon singles crowns.

To complete the story, it would have been ideal if they had won the mixed doubles, too. They did in fact enter and were seeded second, but scratched in the Third Round rather than prejudice their singles ambitions.

Although the Evert-Connors relationship did not last, Wimbledon was the background to three other relationships. Bjorn Borg married the Romanian player Mariana Simionescu a month after winning his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title in 1980 (though they had first met at the French Open four years earlier), and Evert dated another tennis player, Britain's John Lloyd, for the first time at the 1978 Wimbledon. They married a year later.

The Hewitt-Clijsters romance is an enduring one. They first met at the Australian Open two and a half years ago, when Lleyton was 18 and Kim a mere 16, and it certainly provided consolation for Clijsters on her debut there, since she lost in the first round (to a fellow Belgian, Dominique Van Roost). Hewitt, for the record, went on to the fourth round, which remains his best showing at his home Grand Slam.

Since then, despite the demands of their different circuits, they have remained close. When tournaments and long distances separate them, the two young people keep in regular touch by phone. When their events are side by side, so are Lleyton and Kim.

Hewitt told me last month, "For me, our friendship is great, because we both know the pressure involved in tennis. We both understand what's going on. Kim is four in the world at the moment, aged 18, and has a great career ahead of her.

"It's good to know what we are both going through and the feelings we have. We know when we need to stay apart from each other but if I need to talk to someone about tennis she can understand what I am going through, and the same applies when she wants to talk to me. I also like watching Kim play - but I wouldn't go to women's tennis otherwise!"

Clijsters, who was runner-up at last year's French Open to Jennifer Capriati after a 12-10 final set, says, "I know we're both very young, but I feel so comfortable with him. We can't be together every week, but that is what makes it so special."

On the occasions when they are together, time is clearly important and Kim admits, "My parents sometimes get fed up when I'm with Lleyton because I keep forgetting to call them.

"What Lleyton does with his career definitely helps me on court but when we are together we hardly ever talk about tennis. He comes to watch my matches and I watch his, but once we are together it is different."

In October 2000 both Hewitt and Clijsters reached the final of tournaments in Germany, he in Stuttgart, she in Leipzig. He lost in five sets to Wayne Ferreira, she won in three against Elena Likhovtseva. Afterwards they bridged the 200-mile gap with a phone call, part-congratulation, part-commiseration.

An outstanding memory of the 2000 Davis Cup final between Spain and Australia in Barcelona was of Clijsters at courtside, resplendent in Australian colours of green and gold, cheering on her boyfriend as enthusiastically as any native-born Aussie.

It may be that they were initially drawn together by a similar sporting background. Hewitt's father, Glynn, is a former Australian Rules player and his mother Cherilyn is a physical education teacher.

Kim's father Leo is a former international footballer who represented Belgium 40 times and her mother Els was national junior gymnastics champion.

There was, alas, no happy ending for the marriages of Borg and Evert. Simionescu's marriage to Borg in July 1980 ended in divorce following Bjorn's career burn-out, while Chris Evert, who became Mrs Evert Lloyd on tennis scoreboards following her marriage to John in April 1979, reverted to just plain Evert when they split up in 1984 and subsequently divorced.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Clijsters soaring on a natural high May 18
by Neil Harman

THE antidote to the prevailing ills of women’s tennis — Martina’s foot, Venus’s wrist, Anna’s thigh, Lindsay’s knee, Mary’s bruised ego — bursts out laughing as the gentleman on the next table empties the entire contents of the salt cellar on to his rocket salad. “I’m sorry, it was just so funny,” Kim Clijsters, needing time to recover her composure, says. No wonder that Lleyton Hewitt is besotted with her.
Few people in sport chuckle quite as often or unselfconsciously as Clijsters. Few take sport and its burdens less seriously (though she was indignant when Jane Harvey, the British umpire, refused to get out of her chair on Thursday and inspect a mark as she ought, and turned that anger to thrashing Tatiana Panova). Few have so much to offer as the blue-eyed Belgian, who also happens to be the only person in tennis who has swept the men’s No 1 off his feet.

The bond between Hewitt and Clijsters has raised neither the eyebrows nor camera lenses that were voraciously attracted to Chris Evert’s tangled romances with Jimmy Connors and John Lloyd and Bjorn Borg’s marriage to Mariana Simionescu, yet it is every bit as rich with interest. They are rarely off the telephone (four calls a day is the bare minimum), they are completely head over heels and yet their form continues to soar. It is an extremely rare phenomenon.

“I know we’re both very young, but I feel so comfortable with him,” Clijsters, 19 next month, says. “We can’t be together every week but that is what makes it so special. He will call after his match today and my parents sometimes get pissed because when I’m with Lleyton I keep forgetting to call them. What he does with his career definitely helps me on the court but we hardly talk about tennis. He comes to watch my matches, I watch his, but once we are together, it is different.”

Stop anyone in the street and ask them to name the No 3 in the women’s game — who meets Justine Henin, her fellow Belgian, in the Italian Open semi-finals today — and one suspects you would get many different answers, nine out of ten wrong.

Clijsters’s progress since turning professional before her 15th birthday has been more purposeful than meteoric, yet she has garnered seven titles on the Sanex WTA Tour, the latest in Hamburg last month when she defeated Venus Williams in the final. Her unfashionable upbringing helps her to stay sane — well away from the insatiable demands of success that raised Jennifer Capriati to untold heights more than a decade ago, only to plunge her back down when too many wrong vibes mixed up her head.

Capriati’s rejuvenation — she returned to the No 1 spot yesterday — reminds Clijsters that her first recollection of tennis was watching Jennifer reach the French Open semifinals in 1990. “She was wearing Diadora gear and I wore Diadora as an 8-year-old running around at my local club,” she says. “I’m sure it was then I wanted to be just like her.”

How remarkable that, 11 years later, the French Open final should pit Capriati and Clijsters in a match of many memorable moments. The Belgian, at 17, was two points away from a grand slam snaffled by Capriati 12-10 in the final set but can remember nothing of it. Her most vivid memory of Paris was eating in the same Indian restaurant after her matches and the same Italian on her days off. “It used to drive Lleyton and his family crazy, going back to those same places, but I can be very superstitious,” she says.

“People are asking me if I’m scared of going back, but what is there to be scared of? I want to be out there on Centre Court, enjoying the feeling again. One thing I do recall is looking at my Dad a lot in the stands; he was sitting at the back, well away from anyone, not wanting to speak to people. He calms me down as well — it’s a pity he can’t be around more often on the tour.”

Clijsters’s father, Leo, was Belgium’s Footballer of the Year in 1988 and is presently the coach of a second division side. He runs his daughter’s affairs from home; she is the only prominent player not represented by a management company. “I have never been a part of that, I don’t see the need,” she says.

She is the resident happy face of women’s tennis — when the Tour wants happy picture specials, it asks Kim, as when it wants someone to visit a local hospital to pay care and attention to sick kids.

“I’m the oldest of 13 cousins on my Mum’s side and ten on my Dad’s, and whenever I’m home I like to play games,, take the older ones to the movies, or go bowling. I don’t see why I should have to change my personality just because I’m ranked higher. I see a lot of juniors I knew who have changed their character completely and that’s sad.”

Her coach, Carl Maes, first saw Clijsters as a spunky 8-year-old and went full time on the road with her in 1996. “My main concern is that Kim stays hungry and her relationship with Lleyton hasn’t affected that at all,” he says. “Kim is a very emotionally intuitive player, not one with whom you rationalise victories or defeats. I try to influence the flow, rather than try to control her. But I know she and Lleyton could stop tomorrow — they are both millionaires, after all.”

No sign of that. Clijsters talks about the obsessive competitive nature of her beau. She is still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as her 6-1, 6-3 victory over Sandrine Testud, of France, in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open yesterday testified. “I love big matches. I qualified for my first year at Wimbledon in 1999 and lost to Steffi Graf in what was her last time there and I can tell my kids that.”

Lleyton Hewitt a father. There’s a thought.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With Michael Barkann

KC: A lot of people see him differently. He's so motivated. He loves to compete. A lot of people see him aggressive on the court. I like that about him. He's a completely different person on the court than off. Actually, he's really shy and very calm. He's completely different.

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27,371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Love all: Lleyton and his bubbly girlfriend
By HELEN McCABE in The Netherlands
AS Lleyton Hewitt prepared for the start of Wimbledon tomorrow he found time for some playful moments with his girlfriend Kim Clijsters.

Clijsters, who yesterday brushed Jelena Dokic out of the Heineken Trophy in Holland, amused herself by blowing bubble gum in Hewitt's face as the couple returned from an intimate dinner.
Sporting his new-look shaved head, Hewitt responded by mimicking Clijsters, 18, before leaning over to kiss her on the cheek.
Expectations grew that the fifth-seeded Hewitt could lift the Wimbledon title when he beat Belgian Gilles Elseneer to reach the semi-finals of the Heineken Trophy yesterday.
"I give myself a good chance at Wimbledon, an outside chance," said Hewitt, who had a confidence-boosting win over seven-time champion Pete Sampras on the way to defending his Queen's title. "I'm feeling good. The last week and a half has been really enjoyable."
Hewitt and Clijsters spent just over an hour at a Chinese restaurant in Den Bosch, where local diners seemed oblivious to the high-profile sporting duo's identity, before they strolled back to the modest Nuland Hotel.
Hewitt, 20, who is reluctant to talk publicly about his relationship laughed and held Clijsters' hand over the table as he talked animatedly about the day's play.
Afterwards the pair stepped out onto the major highway, not far from the Rosmalen tennis stadium and again joined hands for the short walk home.
Both go into Wimbledon in top form. Clijsters was runner-up in the French Open.
"We've both been playing well in different tournaments," Hewett said later.
"Obviously mine has come from playing in Queen's last week . . . she's probably still got that self-belief in herself after making the final of the French Open."
Throughout the tournament, Clijsters continued to wear an elegant gold ring with a single diamond on her wedding finger.
It is understood friends of the couple on the international tennis circuit believe the pair are very much in love.
Hewitt is currently ranked number five in the world while Clijsters is ranked seven.
However, they were both seeded top in Holland.
The couple spent every spare minute in each other's company by catching the same car to and from the stadium and sharing a $135 room away from the other guests behind large metal gates.
In the morning they ate breakfast together and during the day Hewitt showed his devotion by sitting through as many of her games as he could.
At tense moments in the games he could be seen giving her an occasional nod of support.
Hewitt was also joined in Europe by his best mate from Emmanuel College in Adelaide Hayden Eckermann, 20, and his brother Jarred, 18.
"It's good just to have a coupla of the boys come over for this stretch," Hewett said.
"They did it last year and they're doing it again this year."
"It's hard coming through a sort of long period in Europe . . . so I hadn't seen all my mates for awhile so it's nice just to get back that feeling even though it is a long way back from Australia. It's that connection of being home, anyway."
Hayden told The Sunday Telegraph he has known Hewitt since they were in the seventh grade at school and have been best mates ever since.
He said Hewitt seemed to like having him around to support him during the games.
"He likes it and it's good. He looks over at us and it's good for us to watch him play," he said.
Aside from being responsible for shaving Hewitt's head, the old school buddies also helped out at practice sessions and joined him in the stands to watch Clijsters.
"She's a really nice girl," Hayden said.
While Hewitt remains cautious about his chances at Wimbledon, reigning champion Pete Sampras believes the feisty Australian has what it takes.
"I would almost rather play him on hardcourt rather than grass," said Sampras in a startling admission from a man who has won 53 of his past 54 matches at Wimbledon for seven crowns.
"After he beat me in the (Queens) final last year, I thought he would go further.
"But I think he'll break through this year and do well.
"He has the mental attitude and the wheels. He moves unbelievably well on grass. All the great Wimbledon champions have had that great mobility – (Bjorn) Borg, (John) McEnroe; they could all move."

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hopelessly devoted

Jon Henderson
Sunday November 4, 2001
The Observer

'Emotionally I didn't have anything left for my marriage'

Lleyton Hewitt, A guest at the home of his Belgian girlfriend, Kim Clijsters, decides to cook brunch for the family, starting with soft-boiled eggs. Two seconds after he has dropped the eggs in the water, he puts his face in the saucepan and screams, 'C'mon! C'mon!' Mr Clijsters tells him to ease up a bit, but is ordered to get the hell out of the kitchen.

The scene may be the figment of the fertile imagination of an internet scribbler, but still it tells us something about Hewitt, the 20-year-old from Adelaide who is challenging Gustavo Kuerten to become the year's most successful player. Apart from his tennis-playing ability, two things about him clearly stand out in the public perception: his rattiness and his courtship of Clijsters. Empirical evidence suggests the irritability will last longer. But are Hewitt and Clijsters the couple who can confound the record of failed tennis-circuit romances involving celebrity players?

If they are not, we may have to conclude that Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf have found the only formula that works - fancy each other by all means, but don't do anything about it until one of you stops playing.

Hewitt's well-documented belligerence - his outbursts have included a rant at the 'stupidity of the Australian public' and calling a linesman at the French Open 'spastic' - is curiously at odds with his courtship of the 18-year-old Clijsters, which he has conducted with quaint, almost boy-next-door devotion. He likes the fact that not only do his parents approve of her but they also get on with Mr and Mrs Clijsters, to the point where the families have stayed together, and he doesn't obviously indulge her even though he has the means to do so. Their relationship has lasted for nearly two years now, which means it is already one of the more successful liaisons between players on the professional circuit.

Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert had a famous fling - 'hot and heavy', according to one chronicler of these things - and became engaged in 1974, but parted soon after that. A few years later, John McEnroe's relationship with the promising Californian player Stacy Margolin withered in the intense glare of media interest. This interest reached its height during Wimbledon 1981 when a fight broke out between journalists - basically, tennis writers against news hounds - at a press conference after McEnroe was asked whether he and Margolin had split up.

More recently, players who have become items but then separated have included Graf and Alexander Mronz, Andrei Medvedev and Anke Huber, Xavier Malisse and Jennifer Capriati, and Magnus Norman and Martina Hingis. Inevitably, Anna Kournikova has been linked with a number of players - Nicolas Lapentti and Mark Philippoussis to name but two - but she has avoided enduring relationships with any of them.

Of those partnerships that have led to marriage, there have been some eminent failures. Evert and the British player John Lloyd fell foul of what lawyers like to call irreconcilable differences, and Bjorn Borg and the Romanian Marianna Simionescu, who had devotedly followed the Swede through his Grand Slam triumphs, were not married for long. The successes have tended to involve lesser-known players such as Robert Seguso and Carling Bassett, and Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova.

Maybe, then, Agassi and Graf, who married on 22 October and became first-time parents four days later when their 'wonderful gift' Jaden Gil (that's a boy) was born, have found the answer. Their relationship only really got going after Graf stopped playing in August 1999. Up until then Agassi had merely admired her from afar, although three years ago he did confess to his good friend Boris Becker that he was smitten. Now, judging by last week's pictures, they are living in a state of postnuptial/natal bliss.

Evert says the strain of being the world number one and a wife were too much. 'Emotionally, I didn't have anything left for my marriage [to Lloyd],' she says. 'Andy [Mill, her second husband] travelled with me for two years before I retired. The timing was perfect. I was at a different stage in my life.' Evert believes relationships and marriage are all right for 'the average woman player on tour', but for those at the top of the rankings, who have 'that 100 per cent intensity and focus on tennis, I'm not sure they are'.

All of which illustrates the difficulties that lie ahead for Hewitt and Clijsters, even if they are, in the words of one Australian journalist, still 'totally devoted. Real love birds'. Touchingly, Hewitt and his parents stayed behind in Paris last June to watch Clijsters play in the French Open final against Capriati. And Clijsters was there when Hewitt won the US Open in New York in September. At the celebratory dinner that followed, Hewitt and Clijsters, according to a newspaper report, 'affectionately nuzzled, held hands and kissed' for much of the time.

Last week, after Hewitt lost early in Paris, he went straight to Munich to watch Clijsters in the women's end-of-season championship rather than return home to Australia.

And it is not as if any of this has adversely affected their performances on the tennis court. After winning in New York, Hewitt steered Australia to victory in the Davis Cup semi-final against Sweden and then won the Japan Cup in Tokyo, which helped to move him into second place behind Kuerten in the year's Champions Race. On present form, he will be hard to bet against when he competes in Sydney next week in the Masters Cup for the eight outstanding players of 2001.

Clijsters, meanwhile, has maintained her good form after the disappointment of narrowly losing that wonderful final against Capriati in Paris. Her recent victories in Leipzig and Luxembourg were her fifth and sixth titles and she is poised to take over from Hingis as Europe's main challenger to American dominance of the women's tour.

As the scene at the Clijsters household unfolds, the internet scribbler describes how Kim tries to calm her parents by saying Lleyton's behaviour is simply part of the way he cooks his eggs, which again is not altogether ridiculous. 'I really enjoy it when he does all those things,' Clijsters said at this year's Australian Open when asked about Hewitt's on-court antics. Has tennis ever known such devotion?

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Lleyton Hewitt Thrills Fans

They screamed. They cheered. Lleyton Hewitt, the world's No. 1 player, was greeted like a rock star at Lever 2000 Day when he appeared Sunday for a question and answer session at the 2002 Tennis Masters Canada.

The fiery Australian and Wimbledon champ spent 15-minutes on the Main Stage, signing autographs while he answered fans' questions.

Clearly, Hewitt is as articulate off court as he is magical on it. Here's what he said: Asked whether he ever considered changing careers, he answered: "No, things are going alright at the moment. It was my dream to get to No. 1 in the world at the age of 21. " What was his first reaction after winning Wimbledon? "It was relief it was over. Two weeks is a long time with seven best-of-five matches."

What is his favorite city or tennis stadium? "Adelaide, my hometown. I haven't been home since February and it's nice to be able to sleep in your own bed and put your feet up. As for the stadium. Wimbledon Centre Court is a nice play to play with great atmosphere and a lot of tradition."

On whether it's hard to keep his relationship going with women's tennis star Kim Clijsters because they both travel so much, he responded: "Yeah, it's tough. But we try to play as many tournaments as we can together. And then we have weeks off. In one way it's easy because we both know the pressure of being in the top five in the world at such a young age."

How does he feel about so much travel? "You get sick of it," he said. "But getting better at tennis is one of the things that drives you on." Finally he was asked, what style of player does he like to play. "It doesn't matter really. I like to play guys with a big serve who attack me and those who stand back and rally. I find it easy to adjust to all surfaces."

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·


The Mirror

There is more on Lleyton Hewitt's mind than just being the top seed at Wimbledon. He has got the well-being of his girlfriend Kim Clijsters to worry about.
Though Hewitt cruised through to the third round in straight sets, he rarely looked like the world's
No.1 player in disposing of French qualifier Gregory Carraz.
But while Hewitt was winning on No.1 Court, Clijsters was struggling with an injured shoulder as she slumped to defeat over on No.2 against elena Likhovtseva.
This time last year the Belgian girl was the talk of women's tennis after reaching the French Open final. Now, debiliated by her injury, she has suffered early losses at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
"The doctors gave me a few options when they diagnosed the problem and the last one was surgery," said the 19-year-old fifth seed, who had lost 7-6 6-2. "They couldn't promise me that was going to help either.
"At the moment I don't want to take a risk and be out of the game for a year and then not be fully recovered afterwards. i like to travel and play tennis but at the moment I just can't play as much as I have done."
Clijsters is the latest big name to suffer in the wake of former champions Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis, whose futures are both threatened by injury.
Davenport has been sidelined for almost six months with knee problems while Hingis recently underwent ankle surgery.
Hewitt seems to have shaken off the stomach virus that forced him to quit last week's warm up tournament in Holland but he could not help but notice his girlfriend's demise.
"I saw the scoreboard although I didn't see a ball hit," said the australian who next meets Austrian Julian Knowle.
"I just tried to concentrate on my game. I'm mentally tough."
The US Open champion is guarded on his chances. He added: "There's still a lot of good players left in the tournament and as far as I'm concerned, I've only won two matches with five to go."

1,544 Posts
From Cincinnati this year.
L & K tell two completely different stories when they are asked where they first met.

Q. From all appearances, at least from what Kim has said, you are good to her and you certainly have shown a different side in that you have somebody like that in your life. Is that a side that we just don't get to see too much of because you are all about the intensity on the court and maybe there is this flip-side of the personality that we don't get a chance to view too much?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think I am the first to admit I am very competitive. As soon as I step on the court I am intensity, I want to win. Like most of the players out here, I give 100% every time I step on the tennis court. I think a lot of people perceive that but then they will think that I don't know -- he's probably nasty off the court whatever, I am actually pretty shy. When I went to school back in Adelaide I was shy. I didn't argue with anyone, I had a lot of friends there. But it's sort of the same on the Tour. In the locker room I sort of keep to myself. I do my own thing. I have got a lot of friends at home that I keep in contact with. Obviously with Kim, that all helps as well. But she understands the pressures that I am going through and I understand what she's going through. So that side of it, I think is all sort of a bonus for both of us.

Q. As a shy guy growing up did you have the courage to ask a girl out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Actually didn't have that many girlfriends. When Kim and I started it was -- I don't know, actually, it was a little bit of both. But I didn't have a lot of guts when it comes to that.

Q. Did you just kind of chat her up a little bit or just ask her out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We were -- when was it -- 2000 Australian Open and I'd just won Adelaide and Sydney that year, and I arrived late and I was chatting with one of my mates who I played juniors with, Nathan, he was playing doubles at the Australian Open. He knew Kim through juniors. I was sitting together, I just sat down and that is how we got introduced. She asked me if I wanted to play mixed doubles. I think she knew we could get a wildcard. I couldn't because I committed to my sister about three months before that. That's how it started.

Q. She literally asked you out?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, she asked me to go on the tennis court. I don't know if it was because of my looks or anything to do with that.

109 Posts
It's a great thread. Thanks Duck for the interview of Lleyton. I didn't know this story about the first time they met.

Kim's story is totally different

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A little quote from the TMC this year!

It happened when all 8 competitiors were dressed in the chinese style tops promoting the Masters Cup. A chinese lady asked Lleyton if he was married? He answered "no" and then she asked if he had a girlfriend (I guess she was a bit slow on the uptake) and he smiled sheepishly saying "I think I might!". The reporter then said that the reason she asked was that he was wearing red and that in China, red is the colour of marraige!

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
More from Shanghai!

QUESTION: Congratulations, Lleyton. Justine Henin got married and she changed her name to the husband's family name. If you marry Kim Clijsters, do you want her to change to Kim Hewitt as well?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I got no idea. Haven't even thought about it. That's the least of my worries, if we're to get married, you know, it doesn't really bother me, I guess.
QUESTION: I don't think I can top that. Talking of Kim, who was it you were on the phone to when your dad brought the phone out on to court?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was Kim. That was an easy one.

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27,371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Now, Kim Hewitt?

Some sports fans just can't get enough information about their stars, which occasionally prompts journalists to ask the most bizarre of questions. Like this one from a local scribe at the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai after Lleyton Hewitt had just won the final. "Congratulations, Lleyton. Justine Henin got married (last week) and she changed her name to the husband's family name. If you marry Kim Clijsters, do you want her to change to Kim Hewitt as well?"

Taken aback, a bemused Hewitt struggled to come up with an answer but did his best. "I got no idea. Haven't even thought about it. That's the least of my worries," he said. "If we're to get married, you know, it doesn't really bother me, I guess."

Hewitt didn't waste any time sharing his great news with his Belgian girlfriend after outlasting Juan Carlos Ferrero in a five-set classic. Still courtside, the 21-year-old was on his mobile phone to Clijsters, who last week won the women's season-ending championship in Los Angeles. The exciting double was worth about $5 million to tennis' hottest couple.

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27,371 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A quote Amélie posted earlier!

Today in the newspaper La Meuse there was an article about Lleyton. I love the end so I tranlated it.

The precense of Kim Clijsters bring to you the necessary serenity?

To know that she is near me make me stronger. To share with her big victories make up the sacrifices when our tournaments move away from each other. We have know for 3 years and I see the tennis and the life the same way but our relation make the events stronger. I don't know how to explain it but I think that Kim makes of me, every day, a better man.
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