| 7.8°C Belfast

Australian Open: Clijsters celebrates with an early stroll

Melbourne's Saturday night revellers must have woken up yesterday morning wondering whether they had overdone the celebrations the night before.

Surely that could not have been the new Australian Open champion and those doubles-playing twin brothers they had seen wandering the streets of the city just a few hours earlier?

Their eyes had not been betraying them. Kim Clijsters said yesterday that she and her husband, Brian Lynch, had joined the Bryan brothers for an early-morning stroll after their victories the evening before.

Clijsters had won her first title here, beating Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, while Bob and Mike Bryan had claimed their third successive Melbourne crown, beating India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 6-3 6-4.

“We caught up with the Bryan brothers for a little bit, trying to find a place we could go,” Clijsters said yesterday.

“We didn't find anything, but we walked the streets of Melbourne for about an hour, just laughing and talking.”

There have been times over the last fortnight when Clijsters has not looked her best, but experience now enables her to overcome crises which might in the past have overwhelmed her.

While Li vowed to try to do better next year, there were no promises from Clijsters that she will be back to defend her crown.

She expects 2011 to be her last full season, although she is looking to carry on playing until next year's Olympic Games in London.

At that stage Clijsters looks certain to put away her rackets for a second time in order to have more children — and this time there will be no turning back.

Belfast Telegraph