6-0, 6-1, 53 minutes.
Worst loss in her 555 match career.
Hours later, fans, the tennis cognoscenti, and Kim are still scratching our heads. No one knows what the hell happened, least of all Kim. Her presser was a combination of confusion, contained anger, disappointment, and frustration. Pam and Mary were brainstorming out loud every possible explanation. Was something wrong with Jada? Did she have Mommy fatigue? Did something happen right before the match? Did she run into Lleyton on the way to Hisense (that was my fave, courtesy of Aunty Pam).
It was the weirdest thing to watch. She could not get a ball into the court. She was missing not by inches, but by feet. She looked slow, she couldn't serve, and Nadia, too her credit, never let her get into the match. She played perfect, Big Babe tennis, attacking immediately and never missing. It's as clean as I've ever seen Nadia play. That said, she really didn't have to do much. This wasn't a match like Dani vs. Ana at AO08 where Dani looked unbeatable through 8 straight games. Kim just couldn't even get into a rally without an unforced error. In fact she hit 24 UFEs and went on a string of three games where she didn't even win a point.
Afterwards, Kim had nothing:
Q. Is it hurting you more the fact that you lost the game or the fact that you lost the game 6‑0, 6‑1?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not the score. Just, yeah, with the way that I played today. I was completely off. Just, you know, I think tennis‑wise, I didn't feel the ball at all.
You know, on the other hand, you know, she was good. But, you know, I let her ‑‑ you know, I made all the mistakes and she didn't really have to do much. She served really well and was aggressive in the rallies, but that's because I let her play into the courts. Just because I wasn't feeling the ball well. It sucks....
I think I haven't changed anything in my whole preparations before every match. Everything was the same, same routine, then something like this happens. That's probably the most frustrating thing about it, is not knowing. That's sports. You know, it can happen.
Q. You weren't yourself out there at all today. You said you didn't change any preparation. Is there any difference between the last match and this match?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Uhm, well, my opponent was a lot better, obviously. I still didn't feel like I was hitting the ball as well as I wanted to in my previous matches. I think that definitely, you know, it was worse even today. So, like I said, I haven't changed anything in my preparation or anything.
Yeah, you know, I just mentally felt like, Okay, keep fighting, keep fighting. That's what I kept telling myself. It's not like I gave up or anything. Tennis‑wise, I couldn't bring what my head wanted me to do.
Q. Are you wracking your brain about why?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Of course. It's something that you know as an athlete that can happen once in a while. Like I said, once in a while, once a year, hopefully not more than that. But, uhm, yeah, the question is of course, Why? My coach, my fitness coach, are like, How can something like this happen?
We haven't changed anything really. That's the thing. That's probably the most frustrating thing about this. But then again, what is more frustrating: playing like this or getting beaten when you play your best? I lost because it was my fault.
My opponent, okay, she was better, but I didn't give her, you know, the best Kim out there today. And I think ‑‑ 'cause that's even more frustrating, knowing you get beaten at your best. That's probably even more frustrating.
I wish I could have brought that today because then I know I would have had a better shot at this.
Q. Have you felt like this before?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm sure it's happened before, you know, that I felt like I really couldn't hit the ball, like I wasn't hitting the ball well, that I wasn't feeling well out there. But obviously not in the last few years, I don't think so.
Q. Did you feel it came in the warmup?
KIM CLIJSTERS: That's what I said to my coach. In the warmup, I kind of had an okay feeling out there. It was weird. I don't know. It was just really like my arms, and I ‑‑ like I said, I wasn't hitting the ball. Like, yeah, everything was too soft.
Yeah, I'm sorry, I really have nothing else. I don't know what more it could be. I mean...
Q. Obviously your levels of expectations raised after you won the Open. Did you expect to have days like this when you came back?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I've had a lot of days, trust me, but they didn't happen during my matches. That's why, yeah, it's ‑‑ of course, you don't want this to happen during a match, especially at a Grand Slam. Especially after doing well at the US Open and coming here, I was feeling good. I felt like I had a really good preparation. So, yeah, that's the thing. Like everything had been going pretty good up until today.
You know, I'm very superstitious with my routines and everything, so I really stick to that every day. That's why I'm a little bit confused in a way as well, why something like this happen. I ate the same, slept the same, everything. You know, yeah, that's why it's even more confusing in a way, as well.
Q. You've played a lot of matches in your career. Is this about as (indiscernible) as you've been at one of your own performances?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Yeah, I was just questioning myself, just questioning myself out there a lot. You know, just really trying to at the same time turn it around, but at the same time, yeah, you don't really know, Why is this all of a sudden happening?
You just try to stay calm 'cause there were points where I really like wanted to break my racquet into pieces, but you just really ‑‑ you know, that's not gonna help either. So you really just try to stay positive. At some points I was just happy I was hitting a ball in. That's how bad it was.
So, yeah, I don't know. You know, it's frustrating.
Totally totally weird. Someone put a call in to Horatio Caine's Melbourne counterpart. CSI:Melbourne needs to come down and figure out what the hell happened to Kim's game.