Kim Clijsters, 28, who won the Australian Open earlier this year and is ranked No. 2 in the world, returns this week after missing two months with an ankle injury. Before playing her opener at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, the two-time defending U.S. Open champion spoke with SI.com about the successful second act of her career, one particular blind spot in her pop culture knowledge, tennis' grunting issue and more.
In the past, it seemed I never played my best tennis in the Grand Slam finals. That was more frustrating than losing -- knowing that I was unable to give my opponent the best Kim Clijsters. But that's the past and you learn and that's what I meant before: When I play a final now, I've learned from the ones I've lost.
Now that we're older, we look at those years we had on tour together and I'm proud we didn't have the negative stuff written about us influence our careers. But, yeah, we learned from each other and -- we've talked about this -- others, too. Serena, Venus. We'd say, "Venus only needs to take two steps and she gets to the sideline!" so we felt like we had to improve a lot. Everybody you lose matches to, anyone you see [who] is dedicated, that will be a motivator.