After the year she's had, a lopsided loss to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open is an event Kirsten Flipkens can keep in perspective.
Nine months ago, Flipkens flew from a tournament in Thailand to her native Belgium and stepped off the plane with extreme pain in her calf. She went to a doctor and was told she had blood clots in both legs.
''My life could have been over,'' the 27-year-old Flipkens said after her 6-1, 6-0 fourth-round loss to French Open champion Sharapova on Sunday.
''I found out only two days before I left for Fed Cup to Japan,'' she said. ''The doctor told me, `If you would have stepped on the plane, there would have been a chance that you would have come out blue.''' It was the doctor's way of telling Flipkens that it could have been fatal.
That wasn't the end of the bad news. A couple weeks after the blood clots were discovered, she said, the Belgian Tennis Federation cut off her funding. Sh...