Oh, so close
Clijsters has plenty to be proud of after final defeat
PARIS (Reuters) -- Kim Clijsters said she was heartbroken at the end of her marathon 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 defeat to Jennifer Capriati in the final of the French Open on Saturday.
But the 12th-seeded Belgian's pride in her own performance was obvious as she reflected on an outstanding display that took her so close to a major upset against the resurgent American.
"Of course it's heartbreaking," Clijsters said after just losing out in what was longest final set in the history of French Open women's finals.
"But I gave it everything I had so I can't blame myself that I lost. Of course I'm disappointed after the loss but I think in a few days I'll enjoy everything that I've done here."
That should see Clijsters enjoying a double celebration after turning 18 on the eve of the final.
"I think I've shown that I can play good tennis throughout two weeks," she said.
"Maybe a few years ago I could only do it in a few matches but now I've shown I can do it throughout a whole Grand Slam. I'm pleased with the way I played and that I gave 200 percent, fighting for every point. I was happy to see that we still had very good rallies at 10-10 in the third set."
That there was still tennis to be played at that stage in the match was tribute to the growing maturity of Clijsters, who burst on to the tennis scene as a 16-year-old in 1999 and has maintained her progress.
"I'm a more mature player now," said Clijsters, who was clearly at ease with the media spotlight after her first Grand Slam final. "I've got more experience and this match will help with that.
"I wasn't nervous about today's match even in the beginning.
"I mean, of course, I always have some butterflies in my stomach before every match and maybe a little more today.
"But once I start warming up, hitting the ball, it goes away. I just focus on my tennis."
Even in the disappointment of defeat she spoke warmly to the Paris crowd, earning a round of applause for speaking in French.
"I enjoyed speaking afterwards," said Clijsters, who is the first Belgian to play in a Grand Slam final.
"I felt that I had to give something back to all the Belgian people that had come here today.
"It was nice to see so many Belgian flags, so many black, yellow and red flags and so many umbrellas and caps in the same colors."
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