Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 8/30/12
Superstar athletes are not average people. They're different from you and me. Higher levels of drive and determination; bigger egos; greater feelings of self worth and an acceptance that there will be pain, sacrifice and hardship on the path that will lead them to their goals. Almost all of the above applied to Kim Clijsters, who bowed out of professional tennis at the US Open this week when she lost in the second round to British teenager Laura Robson. Except, perhaps, the ego. For a high achiever -- four Grand Slam singles titles puts her firmly in that category -- Clijsters has always seemed devoid of attitude, a person quite able to talk with kings and never lose the common touch, to paraphrase another author who wrote about her. This is why Clijsters' final departure is being greeted with so many accolades and so much regret. "I'm really going to miss her," Billie Jean King told BBC Radio Five. "I loved watching her play. Everyone loved watching her play. She touches your heart and you wanted her to do well. She's just that kind of person, not everyone can do that. She brings out the best in everyone." Maria Sharapova was equally complimentary. "She was always so focused and determined. One of the best athletes in the women's game and just a really great person; very humble, at the end of the day a down-to-earth person who reflected on life in a very good way." Robson is one of several of the younger group of players who have been surprised to find a star so accessible. "Kim's always been incredibly nice to be around," she said. Clijsters got a little misty-eyed when some of these thoughts were relayed to her. "I mean, it does something to you when you hear other players talk about me like that. I've played players here (teenager Victoria Duval and Robson) in the first two rounds that I spoke to and they said I inspired them. That's a great feeling because I was once in that situation as well." The disarming charm; the lack of self importance is not unique to Clijsters, but it is rare. In the men's game, Stefan Edberg, the elegant Swede who won six Grand Slams, including two at Wimbledon and two at the US Open, comes closest to Clijsters in the way he moved through the game, ever gracious, ever humble. There was a scene in the snow outside the Stadium in Gothenberg after a Davis Cup tie against the US when Jonas Svensson was playing for Sweden. It was the year after Edberg retired and he had been attending the matches. A young fan wanted to have a photo taken of himself with Svensson and, looking around, asked the first person he saw to take it for him. The person happened to be Edberg, a far greater star than Svensson would ever be. But the boy didn't seem to realize that and posed happily while Stefan, equally happily, clicked away and then disappeared quietly into the night. It is the sort of thing you could imagine happening with Kim. Taking the world as she finds it; doing the natural things like marrying and having a child and becoming a working mom. Radiating happiness -- a priceless asset which is why all the players who tried, and frequently failed, to beat her will miss her so.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Is Serena Williams the most important modern athlete?
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kyrie Irving asked Cavs to trade him

Report: Knicks open to trading Carmelo, picks for Kyrie

Landon Collins: Giants will ‘definitely’ topple Cowboys atop NFC East

Are the Cowboys bracing for possible Elliott suspension?

Simpson parole board member opens up about Chiefs tie

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Draymond Green calls out Damian Lillard

Pacman Jones suspended for Week 1 of upcoming season

Stenson had rental home robbed at Open Championship

Report: Carmelo would waive $8M trade kicker for Rockets

Report: Rangers shopping Yu Darvish in trade talks

Floyd Mayweather dating former reality TV star Abi Clarke?

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Every NFL team’s biggest question as training camps start

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker