New mommyhood has changed the tennis champion.
Momlogic: How hard was your decision to leave the game two years ago to start a family?
Kim Clijsters: It wasn't hard at all, it felt right at the time -- and it was the most enriching time of my life. Coming back was the hard part; I did hardly any tough exercise for 18 months, as I was busy taking care of my daughter and father [who was suffering from lung cancer].
ML: Was it tough for you to get back to work when you started playing tennis again? How long after you had your baby did you start training again?
Kim: Hitting the ball came back pretty quickly, but the movement took a lot longer. I started training again after my dad passed away in early January, so about 11 months after Jada was born.
ML: How has motherhood changed your game?
Kim: I think motherhood has made me more organized, as I have to have good quality training time so I can spend as much time as possible with my family. I think it's also made me more focused and tougher in certain situations.
ML: You're the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980. How proud are you of that accomplishment?
Kim: I was very proud when they told me I was the first mother to win a major in almost 30 years, and Evonne Cawley was a terrific player and person.
ML: Did Serena Williams' much-publicized U.S. Open outburst affect your matches at all?
Kim: Serena's outburst didn't affect me at all; there was still one more match to play -- the final, the next day.
ML: How was it having your daughter Jada with you at the U.S. Open?
Kim: Having Jada in New York relaxed me, as I played with her a lot on my off days, and helped keep my mind off tennis the whole time. It really hit me after I won, seeing her running around the court -- how special all this was.