As Kim Clijsters celebrates her US Open win, the headlines seem surprised that a mum could do so well. But being a mum doesn’t mean you can’t be a number one tennis star.
What’s more impressive is that Kim won the prestigious title after a two-year break and just three tournaments back in the game. The US Open was Kim’s second grand slam win since she made her return after being persuaded to play under Wimbledon’s new roof for a bit of fun.
“I don’t have words for this, I’m glad I got back to defend my title from 2005,” said the 26-year-old. As Kim clenched her trophy her 18-month-old daughter, Jada, toddled on court to share in her mum’s glory.
Kim is proof that being a mum doesn’t stand in your way to becoming number one and previous studies suggest pregnancy is a benefit to sportswomen.
“Women re-evaluate where they can anchor pain and many psychologists believe that woman’s pain threshold is effectively reset so that when she resumes or takes up training again, nothing ever seems uncomfortable,” says Greg Whyte, professor of applied sport and exercise at Liverpool John Moores University.
A 1991 study of recreational runners showed that the efficiency with which the body uses oxygen increased by 7% eight months after childbirth. Another study in 1997 revealed that 11% of endurance sportswomen, such as cross-country skiers and runners, performed significantly better after having a baby.
Is Kim’s achievement amazing because she’s a mum, or because she’s made an incredible come-back? Tell us what you think…